Observing Kristen
a qwriting.qc.cuny.edu blog
Invisible vs Visible
Posted on May 23rd, 2011 at 2:25 pm by kristen88 and
When we were talking about The Invisible Man, I thought about the movie, Princess Diaries. Anne Hatthaway always felt invisible, when clearly she was not. The reason she felt this way is because she was kind of nerdy and geeky and not pretty, and did not meet the standards of the popular girls. After she went through the beauty makeover, people suddenly began to notice her. There was one guy though, her best friends brother, and I remember her at the ball, making the comment to him, “You saw me when I was invisible.” This is making me think, just because you think that you are invisible, does not mean that you are invisible to everyone.
Different people can feel visible and invisible under different situations.
Invisibility does not necessarily mean not being there. You can be invisible if you are colored amongst the whites; you can be a different ethnicity compared to others around you; you can be poor while everyone around you has money; you could be the nerdy unpopular kid in school compared to the fashionable popular kids.
A person tends to be invisible when they do no play into the societys standards.
In the prologue there is the scene where a white man was mugged by a black man, however, the whiteman did not say it was a black man that mugged. This is both good and bad. Good in the sense that he did not get in trouble, and bad in the fact that he was not seen.
In chapter 4, there is the scene where the narrator wishes he couble make invisble everything Mr.Norton was made visible to, which he should not have been; the countryside where True Blood lives and the Golden Day.
When you play into societys standards, you become visible.
The Art Thing
Posted on March 30th, 2011 at 8:14 am by kristen88 and

The Art of Fiction

Henry James appreciates illustrations but he does not support them. He believes that illustrations steal perspective. A picture is worth 1,000 words and does the work of interpretations. James has a fear of competing with illustrations. He believes that an image stifles our imagination and relieves us of the work of creating an image in our mind. An image brings thinking back to a scene represented in a text without copying it. When you don’t have an image within a text you have nothing competing with it and  you can and have the freedom to create your own stage.

The Real Thing

“[W]ith all their perfections I didnt believe easily in them.” (194) This line made me think about Emily Dickinson and how she feels about portraits and not truly showing someone for who they are. Also, photos can be cropped and edited to make something or someone look better and cover up imperfections.

“[M]otionless as if she were before a photographers lens.” (199) This made me think about the stereoscope and how am image was looked at and duplicated because that is what was being done now but with a real person and paint instead of looking at a device which was copying an image to be duplicated.

“[I]t was a charming picture of blended youth and murmured love. (209) This made me think about Turner and how he painted with a swirly motion, and blended things together, where nothing was concrete.

“[P]aid the price – for a memory.” (210) This made me think about Emily Dickinsons  poem about perceiving and perception and losing out on reality.

Reproduction Connection
Posted on March 16th, 2011 at 11:04 pm by kristen88 and

Eadweard Muybridge and his stop motion photography is fascinating. Who would have thought to take pictures, moment to moment, to see and to prove a point, like how muscles move and that when a horse runs, all four legs are off the ground. This to me is an example of photographic reproduction which Benjamin talks about where, “with the aid of certain processes, such as enlargement or slow motion, can capture images which escape natural vision.” (65)

After doing the Benjamin reading I was very confused how the preface and the epilogue connected with the six sections. Arts and politics did not make sense to me.

I thought the line, “Lithography enabled graphic art to illustrate everyday life, and it began to keep pace with printing.” (64) The reason for this is because it made me think about the Carter piece and when I read and learned that connections made from what we see, like a person walking past us, and the connection it makes in our head to know that the person is walking by, is delayed by like three seconds. Everyday life is delayed, so does that make the pace of printing delayed too?

“Since the eye perceives more swiftly than the hand can draw.” (64) This made me think about the previous readings we have done, and how for example Emily Dickinson  used her poetry to create perception and how Turner perceived his paintings.

“Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be.” (64) It is so true. A photograph captures a moment which you will never experience again. A painting can never be identically duplicated unless by machinery. A work of art is created during a moment in time, which was for that time, in that time, and not know in the present moment.

“For the first time, captions have become obligatory. And it is clear that they have an altogether different character that the title of the painting.” (68) This made me think about the Trachtenberg piece. On page 314 we have figure 17 with the caption, “A Burial Party, Cold Harbour, VA., April, !865.” The last thing the burial of anybody could be is a party. You can have a picture of clear blue sunny sky and someone can make the caption  ‘The Cold of My Heart,’ proving that people can easily edit and change the authenticity of something original and lose out on the true aura.

I thought I was Conscious…
Posted on March 8th, 2011 at 3:40 pm by kristen88 and


1. awareness of surroundings: the state of being awake and aware of what is going on around you
“feelings of dizziness followed by loss of consciousness”
2. somebody’s mind: somebody’s mind and thoughts
“In time, this experience will fade from your consciousness.”
3. shared feelings and beliefs: the set of opinions, feelings, and beliefs of a group
“national consciousness”
4. awareness of particular issue: awareness of or sensitivity to a particular issue
“health consciousness”

(Bing Dictionary)

 Exploring Consciousness by Rita Carter completely boggeled my mind as I was reading it. The way I thought about being conscious and unconscious is totally wrong, according to the reading. At one moment in time you can only have the capacity of being conscious enough to report abouy four or five objects or different aspects within a scene.
 “Inattentional blindness” and “change blindness” are two things that tend to happen to us everyday. “Inattentional blindness” is when we miss out on something we are not primed to look for in a scene. “Change blindess” is when we miss out on a major change, even when we are looking directly at the scene.
  When talking about blind people and them being able to feel the presence of something, I found it very interesting, because it in fact is true. In one of my shows, Pretty Little Liars, Jenna is blind, and walks with a walking stick and dark sunglasses on at all times. In the last episode, she walks into the bathroom, where three of the girls are standing in silence, and then Jenna spoke out to them saying, “Hello. Anyone there? Who is there?” She knew there was someone else in the bathroom with her without having to see or hear them speak.
 “Consciousness is not immediate..There us a full fifth of a second delay, on average, between the time a visual stimulus arrives at the brain and the time it becomes conscious.” (25) I found it fascinating that when we see something moving, it is only after half a second of the brain becoming aware and conscious of it. We tend to think that we see things as they move as they move. “Consciousness seems to arrise at the same time as eveents actually take place. We actually live our lives half a second out of synchrony with the external world – but when we report on the external world we do so in the belief that we are keeping pace with it.” (29) This really makes me think about what I am seeing around me when I notice it. Its like when I see a person walk by, it actually takes half a second for me to become aware of the fact that they are walking by, even though I feel as if I understand it instantly.
 The only conscious that is certain of is that which you can report through the help of knowledge and has the ability to monitor its own state.

The Real War
Posted on February 22nd, 2011 at 11:02 am by kristen88 and

I have previously read a few excerpts from “Specimen Days” by Walt Whitman, in my American Literature class. Reading from the, “Opening of the Succession War” through “The Real War Will Never Get in the Books,” I was able to get a full taste from start to end of the brutality. Whitman writes with such great detail and description. He writes and tell us about the gruesomeness of the war. These poor men, enlisting, fighting for the cause, now wounded and dying if not dead already. A line that sticks out to me is, “the Bravest Soldier crumbles in mother earth, unburied, unknown.” It is a true statement and a painful one to accept. Many of the soldiers had nobody.

All the bloodshed, all the wounds, all the death, I don’t know how he was able to stomach it all. “I saw the other day a gentleman, a visitor appraently from curiosity, in one of the wards, stop and turn a moment to look at an awful wound they were probing. He turn’d pale, and in a moment more he fainted away and fallen on the floor.” That would definitely have been me. Whitman, was very strong, and not afraid, seeing what death looked like.

When you read about the wars and battles of the past, you don’t get the stories like Whitman tells us. You get, who won, who lost, what battle, when the battle was, where the battle was, why and how. You get the celebration of victories. You get the painted picture of how things were good. During war, there is nothing good, unless there is none wounded and none dead, but this is not the case. Through the vivid details, you can picture the poor soldiers. You can only imagine the severity of their wounds; you can only imagine their pain.

I found it interesting how Whitman was also very descriptive of the environment, the room, the building, the grass, the woods, the sun, the moon, and the weather. “The night was sweet, very clear, sufficiently cool, a voluptuous half-moon, slightly golden, the space near if of a transparent lie-gray tinge.” What a beautiful image he sets into our mind. A soothing scene like a breath of fresh air. And then he would mix the gruesomeness of war with something pleasant, “the red life-blood oozing out from heads or trunks or limbs upon that green and dew-cool grass.” Picture that.

“I have noticed through most of the hospitals that as long as there is any chance for a man, no matter how bad he may be, the surgeon and nurses work hard, sometimes with curious tenacity, for his life, doing everything, and keeping somebody by him to execute the doctor’s orders, and minister to him every minute night and day.” This shows incredible dedication by the doctors and those who helped the soldiers. Women who were mothers of children made the best of nurses, because they would talk care of the soldiers as if they were their own children.

On page 314, figure 17, in Alan Trachtenberg’s “Albums of War: On Reading Civil War Photographs,” the caption of the picture greatly disturbed me. “A Burial Party, Cold Harbor, Va., April, 1865” During a time of war and bloodshed and death, how can anyone even thing about “party.” It truly makes me sick to my stomach, how such a caption can be put. It is truly something dark and disturbing.

Sunlight Connection
Posted on February 8th, 2011 at 8:57 pm by kristen88 and

Since the first day of class, I have become much more aware and alert of my surroundings. I am looking around a lot more when I drive and especially when I walk. There is a difference however between seeing something and actually observing something. We do both with our eyes, but when we observe, our brain clicks, and the image is imprinted in our heads of what is in front of our eyes. I have started to pay attention to myself when I observe, and what goes on between my eyes and my brain. The connection between the eyes and brain is like Jonathan Crary says in “Modernizing Vision.” “Nerves in the human body have been accurately compared to telegraph wires. Such a wire conducts one single kind of electric current and no other; it may be stronger, it may be weaker, it may move in either direction; it has no other qualiative differences.” (42) The way you look at something is what makes the connection to your brain either weak or strong, in observing and taking mental pictures in your head.
When we look at Turners paintings we notice that he really looks at and observes his surroundings. He uses the sunlight to illuminate the colors of his artwork. “It is often said that Turner had only two true subjects: the anatomy of light and what Ruskin nicely called the “palpitation” vitality of paint itself.” (The Patriot:The New Yorker) In all of Turners paintings you can see the presence of light. “For what was often involved was the experience of staring directly into the sun, of sunlight searing itself into the body, palpably disturbing it into proliferation of incandescent color.” (Crary 34) This is how Turner painted and created his artwork. This is why his images might be called “modern” paintings. There were no straight edged or straight lines. There was nothing rigid. Light in certain areas was/is the only thing distinct in his artwork. Other than that, it was just a blend of what he observed after staring into the sun.