March, 2011

Alternate Accuracy

March 16th, 2011 March 16th, 2011
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“There was enormous value placed on realistic images and accurate representations” (Solint 15). Solint may be talking about “the Europenan embrace of the empirical,” but she says this in reference to the camera obscura and photography. And later she links the Europeans way of seeing to the American culture.

But what are realistic images? And what is “real time?” Can we record something in actuality? What is actuality or reality anyway? Muybridge’s pictures in motion are the precursor to motion pictures, and I have a theory about the way time works through this acceleration of accurate motion. And this is also my answer to the question of how time and space works in motion picture photography to the 19th century view – but I answered it more so in relation to today.

There are moments when a person can see a two-hour movie and feel like they were sitting in the movie theater the whole day; thus there are two sets of time then. In movies there is “real time” and time created on the screen. And the same goes for space. Time and space are used like taffy. Time is being stretched or shortened, twisted in all that makes “movie time” – or time that the viewer is aware of – not concrete. And motion pictures do not account for space at all because they make it up with frames and pictures. Space is continuously being filled in like a “steam of thought” or as a train moves through destinations – and this makes space less abstract. Now motion pictures and motion picture photography are a metaphor for our consciousness.

Perhaps then Solint’s idea of “consciousness evolv[ing] from [something] utterly immersed in this river to something that clambered onto land” (18), not because we are pulling away from an internal place but rather we are externalizing our internal ideas. And this explains why our culture is “always willing to out run what is with what might be” (Solint 15), because thought is not as concrete as the image is in our warped and visual addicted minds. And we can go further as to say that belief or religion works as another way to externalize the internal. But how much are we relying on other thought that is not our own? I do not think that we have necessarily become a culture that has washed away the stream, but do we practice in our own stream? As an anxiety for the human’s role heightens, the role of the individual is being threatened as well. Thus no wonder why identity was such a crisis in the 19th century. Because time and space were being so manipulated it was hard to tell what real “real time” was anymore, hence it was hard to tell what “real life” was or where they fit in into it. So although images try to promote an “accurate” world they show precisely that there is no such thing as accurate, and it goes beyond subjective vision too.


March 8th, 2011 March 8th, 2011
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Carter and James both say the consciousness is a steady continuous stream; consciousness depends on paying attention, it hones in on what one person notices – it is a “subjective life” (James 239). Both Carter and James argue however that the consciousness is separated by gaps, interruptions, time gaps, or inconsistencies in thought – but the two writers discover that each thought seemingly do not belong together but everything in the consciousness is interlocked and interconnected, “like a string of beads” (Emerson 473). Therefore, the consciousness is a succession of experiences, and as the owners of our subjective lives we select what we pay attention to. James admits that past present and future are interweaved into a “community of self [that] the time-gap cannot break in twain, and is why a present thought, although not ignorant of the time-gap, can still regard itself as continuous with certain chosen portions of the past” (239).
Carter takes these gaps and analyzes them through visual media and experiments. She notes, with this experiment as an example, that when two images are next to each other whether on a page or in time a difference can be noted. However, when the latter image of the pair comes after a time-gap, even if it is just a second, no difference will be detected. This is a form of blindness, which reminds me of Holmes’ “self-blindness,” and like the blind spot that Cater mentions also one does not detect a change until it is brought to their attention. A person with a blind spot may not realize something passes their vision, or what might have passes their vision, without being prompted to guess what the picture is. Carter’s examples here are in conjunction with James’s idea of past and present joining into consciousness, for one might not see the gap from present to past unless one is looking for it.
“Consciousness unfolds in time,” (18) writes Carter, but does that take into account the gaps and time-stills? With Carter’s examples she is highlighting “Our startling lack of consciousness of what is in front of our eyes” (14). If consciousness is so linked in time, and if time literally does not stop, then how do we have gaps in our sight or current stream of consciousness? I noticed that with Carter most of the visual aids to her arguments had an underlying objective to trick sight or to trick consciousness. James made it so we have control over our consciousness, “Thought tends to Personal Form” (225) and Carter agrees to some extent. Still, if visual perception can morph our consciousness into seeing something that is there or which is not, then how much does Carter’s theory depend on our own will to denote sight? Carter kept saying we are conscious of the words we are reading and the page it is on but we are conscious of other thing too, and also not conscious of everything on the page. But what about being conscious of what we are unconscious of, where does that fit in? Does this constitute as a gap? “Does your consciousness flow smoothly, continuously, and in real time? Or does it lurch along, punctuated by jump-cuts and freeze-frames, flashbacks and fade-outs” (Carter 12)? Do these questions constitute as phases of consciousness, because consciousness does not just bring things up along a linear line. Consciousness is not cookie-cutter like these texts suggest; consciousness is a complexity.


March 2nd, 2011 March 2nd, 2011
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Horizon Line

Photography as narrative

the Sublime Turn

Techniques of the Observer

Transparent Eyeball

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