Observing Kristen
a qwriting.qc.cuny.edu blog
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.