LRG Brief Three: “Form” Research

Using my household dictionary and thesaurus, I looked at the multiple definitions and uses of the word “form”.  I had expected there to be so many definitions because it is a word that can be used in multiple ways, for example as a verb or a noun. The dictionary gave numerous definitions generally associated around the words below.

  • assemble
  • configure
  • build
  • devise
  • fabricate

All these words have a similar meaning, so “form” can mean to create. However, there were other examples such as:

  • appearance
  • model
  • mould
  • structure
  • cut
  • anatomy
  • pattern
  • format
  • plan
  • appear
  • discipline
  • custom
  • application
  • document
  • rank

The thesaurus listed 13 groupings of words associated with “form”. I expected this task to be a little challenging without using the internet as the research could be heavy. After looking at the definitions, I asked my parents what they think form is. They began providing its use in sentences, such as “when you form something together”, “can you fill in this form?” and “it was formed early this year”.

In my free time I went to my local library expecting  it to be rather difficult to find any books to do with “form”; but to my surprise it was fairly simple. This is because I used a search engine specifying titles of books. I came across books such as “Form” by Carl Potter and “Narrative Form” by Suzanne Keen. Narrative form is a type of form that Suzanne Keen is introducing in her book. Keen seems to explore interpretations of “form” and how “narrative form” offers strategies on using language to formally analyse fiction in an accurate and effective way. It was interesting to see the different ways “form” was associated in these books.

Another book I came across was “The Function of Form” by Garrick Ambrose. This book was a manual of structural systems and capacity to produce a range of forms. It seemed quite heavy and honestly,  I didn’t particularly understand it. However what I grasped is that the book explores forms and compares them with the relationship to function.

The book reminded me of something we did at university. For our final project; we had to create a magazine showcasing our work, the issue of the magazine had to be called “Form Follows Function: An Exploration of Modernism and Postmodernism”. I learnt that, Form Follows Function is a principle associated with 20th century modern architecture ad industrial design. The principle is that the shape of a building or object should be based upon its intended function or purpose- prioritising function before form. This is of course in terms of art and design, however it was interesting nevertheless.  If you think about it, there is little point in creating or “forming” anything without an idea of its purpose therefore this principle can be used in various terms, rather than just art and design.

I found this brief a little challenging and frustrating; only because I am so used to having the internet to research with. At university, I read many books to help with my course, and enjoy researching in this way. Books can  often offer what the internet cannot, and that’s what people forget.  Not being able to use the internet just made me want to use it more, especially with a topic so broad and general like “form”. It’s like saying to a kid, “don’t touch that button”, chances are, they are going to touch the button. Despite a little frustration with the brief, I did find it refreshing. I liked that there wasn’t a particular outcome, and I liked that it was entirely research based, meaning we had freedom to explore.