Lately, i’ve been using the word and concept of composition quite often.
In this video, in Italian without subtitles unfortunately, the dialogue about composition is linked to graphics, choreography, cooking, etc. This is particularly interesting for me because this is how i’ve been handling the idea of composition exactly.
Composition & Experience: Past, present, future
1. Composition is an accumulation of past experiences that, if learnt well, could be enhancing to performance. Paradoxically, it is an experience you enter in the present, and by doing so, you form the past for future encounters. This is one aspect about composition.
e.g: you never spoke in Italian before. You don’t know the nuances of the language between what is formal and what is colloquial; what is modern and what is archaic. What you do is that you start speaking based on the experience you have with your known languages, and learn as you go through the experience of speaking the new language. By time, you will update your database with a situation where someone felt uneasy because you said a word that is not in its right place. From that experience, you enter into another experience knowing that this word you will employ better this time.
Composition & Practice: Necessary mistakes
2. This example relates composition to another aspect: the need to go through mistakes in order to form a knowledge of what is “correct.” Or as Aristotle is said to have said: “For the things that we have to learn before we can do, we learn by doing them.” This aspect of composition is very interesting in how it relates to practice.
e.g: like Deleuze and Guattari put it: “The problem of writing: in order to designate something exactly, anexact expressions are utterly unavoidable. Not at all because it is a necessary step, or because one can only advance by approximations: anexactitude is in no way an approximation; on the contrary, it is the exact passage of that which is under way.”
Composition & Proportions: An exercise of spontaneity and emergence
3. Composition is about assemblage, proportions and ingredients that make the overall result beautiful, for example. That is: composition doesn’t have defined rules. Whereas what it manipulates is in fact based upon rules, the composition itself is something that you form spontaneously as you go through the experience. As someone said before, “All empirical rules melt down in the presence of experience.” Hence, this defiance to empirical theory, for me, is another very interesting aspect of composition.
e.g: you go through a job interview. You ask others, more experienced, for advice. They tell you some, but in the end they tell you that you have to tailor your performance according to who you are and, in the end, breaking the rule might be the only rule you need to learn.
Composition & Necessity: A becoming
4. In this aspect, i will be confused, a necessary confusion, in the use of the words: honest, natural and necessary. That is because there are no absolutely defined rules for composition. This is due to the fact that we don’t live in a mathematical world where a point’s position can be established precisely (see Heisenberg’s principle of uncertainty). This aspect of composition, in my view, is very linked to nature and the necessity behind the process of evolution. Hence, every composition then becomes as personal and unique as a fingerprint; a perpetual Becoming.
e.g: the interview example works here as well.
Composition & Totality: A designation of meaning
5. One more aspect of composition is the posterior designation of totality. This is a bit difficult to furnish. As it has been displayed, a composition is emergent. It is also an assemblage. It gets defined through the process of being. Hence, a composition is not destiny, but free will. It’s not deterministic, but evolves out of a chaos of chances to which you attribute value according to necessity. A choice that you make as you form your composition, is to deem it, despite the previous, a totality. Deeming a composition as a totality gives it meaning.
e.g: if you assume the existence of an afterlife, you designate a meaning for life, in which it has a totality; everything happens for a reason.
If we want to draw a model for this aspect, it would be that of a straight line that has a direction; a vector. This straight line, though, after every experience stops, loops and looks back at the immediate past point as a totality of parts of which it was composed. What is paradoxical in this assumption is that, as you continue with the vector in its direction, you continue to fragment this totality and form it anew using spontaneous and emergent acts according to necessity. This process negates the designation of totality that you have attributed to your composition, and hence negates meaning. But then, if there were to be meaning, it is thus a necessary paradox.