This …
Isn’t Even My Final Form
Due in summer 2021, the next print edition of HOLO will be a different beast. Follow the transformation via production notes, research snippets, and B-roll material.

This … Isn’t Even My Final Form documents the making of a magazine, from our studios to your screen. Rejigging formats, shaping stories, crafting the issue’s identity—this is the place to track HOLO 3’s evolution.

© 2020 HOLO

001 – Note: New Beginnings (10/11/2020)
“The magazine had become a research vessel, encouraging all aboard—artists, designers, writers—to explore new territory through experimentation and collaboration. Thus far, we filled two hefty compendiums that each mark a point in time.”
Labyrinthine TXT “3” featuring words from Harold Cohen’s paper “What is an image?” (1975) is a generative type experiment by NaN.

Ten years ago, this very season, the first outlines of a yet to be named print magazine were being sketched—counter-intuitively so, as the first iPad had just been released and fast-paced digital publishing was all the rage. This new imprint would also be a misfit in other ways: neither art, design, science, nor a technology magazine, it was conceived as something in between—a magazine about disciplinary interstices and hybrid creative practices that are tricky to pin down. More interested in research, process, and entangled knowledge, it should not only explore but embody how niche developments influence other fields and, eventually, shape popular culture. Smart, methodical, and beautiful, the magazine should also have a lot of heart—and speak to many people.

Thousands of copies later, we’re still amazed at how HOLO resonated. It’s been described as “heavyweight in scope and literally” (Monocle), an “essential tool” (Jose Luis de Vincente) and an “extraordinary record” (Casey Reas), “that links discourse past, present, and future” (Nora O’Murchu). Over the years, HOLO visited the studios of interdisciplinary luminaries such as Ryoichi Kurokawa, Vera Molnar, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, and Katie Paterson; it featured analysis by erudite thinkers including James Bridle, Georgina Voss, and Geoff Manaugh; and experimental designers like Moniker, Coralie Gourgeochon, and Karsten Schmidt added touches that push what you can do in print (e.g. why wouldn’t you visualize every glyph on every page on intricate character distribution maps, or use reader-generated input to ‘grow’ cover art?). In short: the magazine had become a research vessel, encouraging all aboard to explore new territory through experimentation and collaboration. Thus far, we filled two hefty compendiums that each mark a point in time.

Spring 2014: team HOLO (Greg J. Smith, Alexander Scholz, Sherry Kennedy, Filip Visnjic) launching issue 1 at EYEBEAM Art and Technology Center in New York City (photo: Daniel Dorsa)

“Going forward, the lion’s share of the pages will be dedicated to the magazine’s research section—rigorous investigations that have always been at HOLO’s heart.”

HOLO 3 will follow in that same tradition. But it will also break new ground—it has to. Similar to how the first issue filled a void in the blog and publishing sphere, the next one will have to identify what is missing in these tumultuous times. HOLO 2.5—this website—is an important step in that direction (read more about our online publishing intentions here). It’s the online home we long felt HOLO needed, and a framework that will help us situate and evolve the printed magazine.

Going forward, HOLO will be published annually, synthesizing a year’s worth of observations into a timely theme. Hence, the lion’s share of pages will be dedicated to the magazine’s research section—rigorous investigations that have always been at HOLO’s heart. Other sections will become more dynamic and move faster as we reimagine them on this site: Stream, the magazine’s year-in-review fold-out timeline, has already become a living archive; Encounters, our signature series of long-form interviews, will follow soon. This diversification of our editorial activities—sustained focus on the one hand, agility and nimbleness on the other—will allow us to bring you more content more frequently. Most importantly, it will make HOLO a better magazine.

HOLO 3 will be published in the summer of 2021. Until then, we’ll use this space to share production notes, research snippets, B-roll material, and select stuff from the bin—after all, a lot of work has been done already and some of it in vain. We hope you’ll follow along as we venture into uncharted territory—to explore both disciplinary interstices and HOLO’s new printed form.

HOLO 3 will become available as part of our new annual subscription model to be launched in early 2021. If you previously ordered HOLO 3 together with HOLO 2, you will receive your copy automatically. For details on the new subscription model—and how to become a HOLO reader—see The Annual and our note on HOLO blog.

002 – Process: Flow Charts (16/11/2020)
“With HOLO 3, we are outgrowing a rigid formula. Years into navigating disciplinary interstices, we began to notice—and question—some of the hard lines we’d drawn in our magazine.”
Sections:

A: Encounters
B: Perspective
C: Grid
D: Frames
F: Stream

HOLO’s transformation begins with its core architecture—the ‘spaces’ that organize content into thematic and/or functional sections and provide the editorial framework of the magazine. They dictate not only how we navigate—and fill!—a publication; they set the pace for how things flow from page to page.

In HOLO 1 and 2, the architecture reflected what the magazine was designed to do: meet creative practitioners in their studios and explore emergent themes. Both issues (Model 1) feature two sizeable clusters of Encounters (A1, A2)—long-form interviews and studio visits—separated by a sprawling research section, Perspective (B), containing essays, surveys, and commentary. More complementary, Grid (C) set foot into nascent hybrid spaces—digital art galleries, creative incubators at scientific institutions—while Frames (D) examined emergent tools and tech. Stream (F) compiled news gathered during production and closed each issue by situating it in time.

With HOLO 3, we’re outgrowing that rigid formula. Years into navigating disciplinary interstices, we began to notice—and question—some of the hard lines we’d drawn in our magazine (e.g. why are artists and designers segregated from, for example, curators, researchers, and toolmakers?) Eager to build bridges within the magazine’s architecture, we became increasingly interested in aligning things with an overarching theme. Hence, a lot of work went into streamlining and consolidating—from tightening studio visits while expanding the space for inquiry (Model 2) to tying Grid and Frames closer to the research section (Model 3). The work on HOLO 2.5 was pivotal—as it came into focus, so has HOLO 3. The more we leverage this expanded online space for episodic interviews, profiles, and news, the further future print editions can lean into a single unifying theme (Model 4). Like a yearbook, “The Annual” will dig deep into a pressing topic, drawing on and responding to the stories we now share on HOLO.mg.

This dossier is in progress. Please check back for future entries.