Buckle up, stop smoking, we are in for a crazy ride!
LOCATION: THE WORLD
Here we are. Living beings on Earth.
But what is Earth? What is it made up of?
For that I looked up Clay Shirky's writings (http://www.shirky.com/writings/ontology_overrated.html).
He has looked into the Library of Congress' categorization of History. These are all the top-level categories -- all of these things are presented as being co-equal.
|D: History (general)|
DA: Great Britain
DK: Former Soviet Union
I'd like to call your attention to the ones in bold: The Balkan Peninsula. Asia. Africa.
And just, you know, to review the geography:
[ Spot the difference? ]
Yet, for all the oddity of placing the Balkan Peninsula and Asia in the same level, this is so puzzling. The Library of Congress has a staff of people who do nothing but think about categorization all day long. So what's being optimized here? It's not geography. It's not population. It's not regional GDP.
What's being optimized is number of books on the shelf. That's what the categorization scheme is categorizing.
That's what we are going to discuss first; Hierarchies of Art & Design Elements.
In a hierarchical diagram Art versus Design is depicted as follows:
Art versus Design
In addition, we have discussed the 5 senses with which we - human beings - receive stimuli from the world around us, and to which we respond. These are shown next:
The 5 Senses
You will most likely already have detected (like Sherlock Holmes) that "Vision" relates to Art & Design, using "visual means". Therefore it is nice that we can relate the two diagrams.
Below I have included Interpretation, Perception, Culture, and Movement (in Time and Space), that influence our Response to Stimuli.
The 5 Senses, Stimuli, and Movement
Focusing on "Image", we open up a world of topics relating to art & design; point, line, shape, repetition, alignment, balance, contrast, proximity, color, value, space, texture & pattern, movement, etc.
WE NEED HELP!!!
What science addresses the organizing of such a variety of topics?
The answer is: ONTOLOGY
The main thread of ontology in the philosophical sense is the study of entities and their relations. The question ontology asks is: What kinds of things exist or can exist in the world, and what manner of relations can those things have to each other? Ontology is less concerned with what is than with what is possible.
The common thread between the two definitions is essence, "Is-ness." In a particular domain, what kinds of things can we say exist in that domain, and how can we say those things relate to each other?
The other pair of terms I need to define are CATEGORIZATION and CLASSIFICATION. These are the act of organizing a collection of entities, whether things or concepts, into related groups. Though there are some field-by-field distinctions, the terms are in the main used interchangeably.
And then there's ONTOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION or CATEGORIZATION, which is organizing a set of entities into groups, based on their essences and possible relations. A library catalog, for example, assumes that for any new book, its logical place already exists within the system, even before the book was published.
Let's have a look at one of the well-known hierarchical structures we use in organizing topics.
File Systems and Hierarchy
The file system is both a powerful tool and a powerful metaphor (i.e. A figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one object or idea is applied to another, thereby suggesting a likeness or analogy between them.), and we're all so used to it, it seems natural.
[ Hierarchy ]
There's a top level, and subdirectories roll up under that. Subdirectories contain files or further subdirectories and so on, all the way down. Both librarians and computer scientists hit the same next idea, which is "You know, it wouldn't hurt to add a few secondary links in here" -- symbolic links, aliases, shortcuts, whatever you want to call them.
[ Plus Links ]
The Library of Congress has something similar in its second-order categorization -- "This book is mainly about the Balkans, but it's also about art, or it's mainly about art, but it's also about the Balkans." Most hierarchical attempts to subdivide the world use some system like this.
Then, in the early 90s, one of the things that Berners-Lee (founder of Hyperlinks and the resulting Internet) showed us is that you could have a lot of links. You don't have to have just a few links, you could have a whole lot of links.
[ Plus Lots of Links ]
But if you've got enough links, you don't need the hierarchy anymore. There is no shelf. There is no file system. The links alone are enough.
[ Just Links (There Is No Filesystem) ]
One reason Google was adopted so quickly when it came along is that Google understood there is no shelf, and that there is no file system.
A lot of the conversation that's going on now about categorization starts at a second step -- "Since categorization is a good way to organize the world, we should..."
But the first step is to ask the critical question: Is categorization a good idea? There are a number of cases where you get significant value out of not categorizing.
So should we then not categorize any of the Art & Design ELEMENTS?
The answer is, it depends... (sounds familiar?)
I will try and 'branch' some of the elements first. Afterwards we'll see if we can find a denominator to attach these branches to the 'root', the 'IMAGE' in our diagram.
Art & Design Element: COLOR
Art & Design Element: SHAPE
Art & Design Element: SOLID
Then there are Art & Design DIFFERENTIATORS that make a distinction between Elements.
Together the Elements make up an Art & Design COMPOSITION, whereas the Differentiators make a Composition either interesting or boring.
|Structure:||impacts Elements SHAPE and SOLID|
|Surface:||impacts Element COLOR|
A Composition in turn makes an IMAGE.... and that is the Code as I see it.
Honey, we're home!