Rhythm in Communication LO23774

From: Leo Minnigh (l.d.minnigh@library.tudelft.nl)
Date: 01/17/00

Replying to LO23744 --

Dear LO'ers, dear Bruno

Bruno has touched what I had in mind, writing on the rhythm of form and

> Maybe we can just control direction of content and rhythm of form. Content
> is «what» and form is «how», right?

Bruno, let me first confess that I had a lot of difficulty with
understanding the form/content topic when this was articulated for the
first time on this list. And it took me quite some thinking and repeating
before I started to build my own understanding. Words from other
contributers helped of course, but the understanding was a personal

And it is exactly this what hits right on the nail: the words DESCRIBING
what the difference between from and content is, are the form. The
process in my head, understanding this issue - that is the content.

So, it is just the other way round of what you wrote.


But we can use a lot of other words and explanations. For instance


I know that you read with interest the contributions of At de Lange. His
seven essentialities describe the conditions, hence the form for a healthy
entropy production, which is the content.

Again in other words, trying to make a connection with (written)
communication which is the subject of this dialogue, the

FORM is perceived by the senses (eyes, ears, smell, etc), the CONTENT is
in the brains - the meaning and understanding.

I hope that these words will cause a better understanding for you. If
this is so, I now will complicate the story.

As I wrote you in private, there are at least three players in
communication: the sender (A), the receiver (R), and the message (S). The
sender could by a teacher, author, or painter; the receiver is the pupil,
reader, or observer; the message could be an aural presentation, a book,
or a painting.
As I said in the above paragraph, "content is in the brains". What I had
in mind with these words was what happened in the brains of R - the pupil,
reader, or observer. The complication is that this process in the brains
is caused, or triggered by the message and this message has also content.
That is why I wrote in the beginning that content refers to MEANING and
understanding. The meaning is something which is in the message. And now I
come to your next words:

> But how would this apply to the still photograph of the person falling
> from the chair?
> Damn! I feel like I'm going too fast and missing the point.
> Bruno

Bruno, may I give you a great compliment by describing with your wordings,
the rhythm of content! Part of that rhythm is because of understanding -
doubt - misunderstanding. It is the process of learning that you felt in
your brains. It could evenly be the process of joy - disappointment -

Before I go to your photographs, I give you the following example of
content in the message and the rhythm it could have with the form of the
You probably know the school of pointilism at the end of the 19th
century. It was a sideway of impressionism and Seurat and Signac are the
most known practitioners of pointilism. What they intended (as
messengers) was to mix in the eyes of viewers rather than on the canvas.
There is a great rhythm on the canvas, especially if your eyes are close
to it. you will see the rhythm of all these dots. If you take some
distance, this rhythm slowly fade away, but then another rythm takes up
the beat: the rhythm of the composition. But you can't see the rhythm of
content, that is something you only could feel. It is the mixing in your
eyes and the oscillation in your head.

The two photographs you described may both have a rhythm of content. I
don't know. Maybe I could feel this rhythm, maybe you.
In the first photograph - a kind of still life - there could evenly well a
rhythm of content. It may depend on the composition (as the different
sorts of fruit on a table in a still life could generate a rhythm); it may
depend on the points and dots of light and dark on the photograph. Both,
composition and dots of light and dark are expressions of the form, but
they are the conditions to generate a possible rhythm of content.

The same counts for the second photograph. But that picture - despite the
fact that it shows a frozen dynamic moment (and thus has lost all
dynamics) - may contain less rhythm of content than the first one.
Think of the famous painting of Edvard Munk - The scream. If one has taken
a photo of a screaming person (frozen action) I am sure that this photo
never will reach the rhythm of content that the real Munk will do with
you. The scream will even be louder if you see the very picture in the
beautifull museum in Oslo, than if you look at a black and white
reproduction of this painting. Munk has created the conditions for a
strong rhythm of content. The painter Munk (A) putting his rhythm of
content in the message (S) by opening himself and creating such forms that
he hoped that a rhythm of content is created in the mind of the observer
Heavenly gifted artists are able to play with forms in such a way that
emotions are generated within the observer/reader/pupil. Why will the
original writing, painting or photograph generates much more rhythm of
content, than a rewriting or copy of the original, made by an amateur?
This is the great mystery. Somehow, the true artist knows (tacitly) the
secret formula. And this secret formula is hidden in his work. We can't
see it or hear it; we feel its presence. It must be somewhere in his work.

Bruno, I hope it becomes clear to you. But as I told in the beginning,
describing and explaining the dynamics 'behind' the form is a nearly
impossible task. The learner should feel and understand it with his mind.
My only instruments are the descriptions of the form, hopefully ordened in
such a way that the conditions becam optimal for you to feel the
vibrations of the contents.

dr. Leo D. Minnigh
Library Technical University Delft
PO BOX 98, 2600 MG Delft, The Netherlands
Tel.: 31 15 2782226
        Let your thoughts meander towards a sea of ideas.


Leo Minnigh <l.d.minnigh@library.tudelft.nl>

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