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In Chapter 19: Arrangement and Substance, Hinton discusses the importance of composition in the human world and the impact that it can have on a given audience. "Composition can bring implicit meaning to information that the pieces of information themselves do not necessarily contain" [1]. When designers become more aware of the arrangement of the individual elements in their structure, they can better control the perception of their audience members and convey a very specific message.

Composition in Other DisciplinesEdit

Hinton lays the foundation for the chapter by introducing the concept of composition and how it relates to context.  When composing something, one must fuse individual elements in a deliberate manner and style to create an overall meaning.  Besides writing, Hinton touches on how "composition is an important concept in about every field of human creation," [2] such as music, visual arts, film, and architecture. In all disciplines, composing helps give users, viewers, and readers a better understanding of the connections between components.  Without the distinct parts, there would be no whole.

Qualities of CompositionEdit

In this section, Hinton delves deeper into composition to describe some trends and commonalities that are relevant to all areas of composing. In the past section he talked about how composition is centered on choosing the right pieces to make up the big picture. The true focus is on the whole, not what the separate aspects mean individually, but how they give meaning to the final masterpiece.

Another notable quality of composition is that humans utilize nesting, starting with the outer framework and then working in to add smaller details. This can be seen in many movies where a scene starts by "orienting the viewer, such as providing establishing shots before close-ups, situating details within the larger story arc" [3]. For example, a scene with two friends talking over coffee might start with a shot of the city, then pan in to the specific coffee shop, then focus on the friends at their table. Nesting gives viewers a sense of place by setting the boundaries and can set the tone for the entire scene.

Hinton also points out the fact that anytime composition occurs, it creates a structure in the world and that structure forms upon very deliberate decisions of the composer. For each characteristic humans incorporate into their composition, they are excluding the given alternate element. That leads to Hinton’s key argument that composition is rhetorical in nature because it is a reflection of the designer's opinions based upon how they want their structure to be perceived by others. Every detail included, and the way they orient with the other pieces, is a specific choice the composer must make in order to create the larger product.

Something to Walk OnEdit

Hinton utilizes several real life examples, like Google Plus and Twitter, in this section to argue that composers must take into account the environment and the involvement of semantic information for the audience. The introductory example is from a short film by Kuleshov which takes the same clip of an actor and places it after several different pictures of varying contexts, each causing the audience to interpret his expression as a different emotion.

This film displays how information can change depending on the environment surrounding it. Hinton also elaborates on the fact that stability is crucial in composition because without it, one’s work may be misinterpreted or have a variety of meanings depending on what mode it is viewed in. "Consistency isn't about just the details, but really about the coherence of meaning from one context to the next" [4]. In order to establish this consistency, one must account for each potential context and analyze the information in that setting to make sure it is logical for all human beings that will have access to it. For example, in digital environments composers need to be aware of differences between platforms such as mobile devices or desktop computers. Once an effective composition has been created, the designer must keep its key elements invariant over time or risk creating a structure that may confuse or upset the current audience.

AnalysisEdit

Composition is a form of rhetoric that can be seen in the structures throughout every human’s environment. In his book on digital rhetoric, Douglas Eyman refers to Kenneth Burke’s simplistic definition of rhetoric which states “Wherever there is persuasion, there is rhetoric. And wherever there is “meaning,” there is “persuasion”” [5]. Whether one is consciously aware of it or not, every composer is persuading their audience by manipulating many qualities of the structure so that others will see things from a specific perspective when there are alternatives. Composition is very opinionated because the designer is choosing what elements should be incorporated to get their point across and as Hinton states “inclusion is also exclusion” [6]. Going off of that idea, if people become more aware of the implications of design, they can tailor it to improve their structure and better appeal to audience members.

Composition in digital environments can also play a crucial role in solving issues in physical environments. Applications regarding social justice are prime examples of composition used for deliberate persuasion of users in order to evoke certain actions. Social justice, according to David Miller, "is a social virtue that pertains to what you are due or owed, as well as what you owe others" [7]. Through the creation of digital applications, like ROC United Diners, people can spread information about and become more knowledgeable of real-life problems so that other human beings get the treatment they deserve. There is a lot of value in the creation of these applications because they provide a platform for which individuals can unite and become a more powerful force as a whole.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Hinton, Andrew, and Peter Morville. Understanding Context: Environment, Language, and Information Architecture. Sebastopol: O'Reilly, 2014. Print. Page 343
  2. Hinton, Andrew, and Peter Morville. Understanding Context: Environment, Language, and Information Architecture. Sebastopol: O'Reilly, 2014. Print. Page 339.
  3. Hinton, Andrew, and Peter Morville. Understanding Context: Environment, Language, and Information Architecture. Sebastopol: O'Reilly, 2014. Print. Page 341
  4. Hinton, Andrew, and Peter Morville. Understanding Context: Environment, Language, and Information Architecture. Sebastopol: O'Reilly, 2014. Print. Page 348
  5. Eyman, Douglas. "Defining and Locating Digital Rhetoric." Digital Rhetoric: Theory, Method, Practice. Ann Arbor, MI: U of Michigan, 2015. N. pag. Print. Digital Humanities. http://quod.lib.umich.edu/d/dh/13030181.0001.001/1:4/--digital-rhetoric-theory-method-practice?g=dculture;rgn=div1;view=fulltext;xc=1
  6. Hinton, Andrew, and Peter Morville. Understanding Context: Environment, Language, and Information Architecture. Sebastopol: O'Reilly, 2014. Print. Page 342.
  7. Robinson, Matthew, PhD. "Department of Government and Justice Studies." What Is Social Justice? Appalachian State University, 2015. Web. 05 Nov. 2015.

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