The two quotes mentioned in the blog prompt for the Gomez-Pena reading have a very deep meaning in the contexts of education. The first quote mentioned, “to observe a new world with new eyes” was a very simple yet moving ideology. My initial thoughts of the quote before reading the text was that before we are taught to comprehend and to think critically we view things for what they are. After one is educated and able to understand, they can then perceive the things they see not only as what they are, but what they could be or what they can be used for. An educated mind sees the world in an all new perspective. They can analyze and come up with ideas for themselves.

The second quote, “The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows” required some more critical thinking on my part to decipher. I honestly thought of reflection at first when the mirror was mentioned. I believe this was so because of the deep reflection that is required of us in NCC to understand everything that is observed. I later realized that the mirrors represent a barrier preventing oneself to fully understand something. These barriers can only be broken through being able to process the information and look beyond the mirror creating a window.

In the text there is a line that says, “We are now allegedly installed in a fully globalized, post-racial, post-racist, post-sexist, post-ideological, post-civil rights era, and anyone who thinks otherwise is clearly out of touch with the times.” This statement addresses all the issues that occurred throughout history. These are many problems that are thought to have been resolved, but are still rights that are fought over today. We may be the closest to equality that we have been, but these issues need to be continuously argued and pushed upfront so that change can occur.

Lastly, the new perspective that was given to me during the NY trip was the gay rights battle for marriage. I met two drag queens in Times Square who were protesting for the right to be married in the United States. To actually meet them and to hear their perspectives for myself was an entirely different experience than learning about it in class. I can now see and understand how they feel about the subject and what burdens they have to live with daily for doing what feels right to them.

-Austin Smith

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3 Responses to Gomez-Pena

  1. Jayme Walker

    When I read the quote to “observe a new world with new eyes,” I found it to be very moving and extremely representative to our course in particular. Much like Austin, I believe that through education, we are able to view the world in a better way and to see past initial judgments. For example, many of the topics we discuss and learn about in class are subjects that I had never learned about before. Before learning about them, all I was familiar with were stereotypes or simple (and admittedly wrong) judgments. Through education, explanation, honest and safe learning, I am now able to look at the world in a new way, through a different lens. This new and improved lens helps me to live and learn in a much better way. My educational experiences are much more beneficial, for example, during class discussions, and also during our trips to the art galleries in NY. My life experiences are also greatly changed because I am now more aware and conscious of everyone and the fact that everyone is very different and how important it is to be conscious and respectful of those differences.

    For the second quote, “The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows,” much like Austin, I had to think a little bit deeper to decipher this quote entirely. After a lot of thinking and many different ideas, I believe that the quote has a lot to do with how we see the world. Without education, a person can see images and they can see personal reflections, however, can they relate those images and simple reflections to an even bigger, broader spectrum, or perhaps to other images or reflections? With education, the ability to see the world through an open window is possible. Students don’t just see themselves, through a mirror, but they are able to see others, through windows. They are able to look out into the world, using their own personal thoughts and experiences shaped by education, to look at the rest of the world and understand the bigger picture. With windows comes a much broader understanding, and with a broader understanding comes empathy.

    Tying this into our readings, class discussions, and our NY trip, I am able to see how these quotes relate directly to the themes and ideas portrayed through the many different types of art we have experienced. Through learning about these many different facets of artwork and expression, we are able to look at the world in a new way, and as Gomez-Pena says, we are able to “observe a new world with new eyes.” Directly relating to that quote, by learning and furthering our education about different types of artwork and the thought and purpose behind each piece, we are able to first handedly see how education can “turn mirrors into widows.” This new way of looking at life, specifically what we are learning throughout this class, has really changed me as a person and I am very thankful. I have made a conscious effort to stop making snap judgments and to allow myself to be empathetic to everyone because everyone has their own struggles and battles and needs an equal amount of respect and understanding.

    Another thing that continues to strike me about our class and our discussions is how there are so many different identities within just one classroom. It just goes to show you how truly unique every person is and how important it is to have respect and understanding for everyone. Along with this sense of respect and understanding, I am thankful for the ability we have as a class to be so open with one another and to discuss some very difficult topics that often go without being discussed. By discussing these subjects and topics, we are further educating ourselves, allowing us to see through more and more windows and above all, to see the world through new eyes.

  2. Sarah Rose

    For me this reading seemed especially interesting and I took a lot from it. I feel it was easier to read then some of the other assignments and I was able to make my own inferences about what was said. When I read the quote “Observe a new world with new eyes,” I thought about it for a minute or two and discovered what it meant, at least to me. I feel that Gomez-Pena is explaining that he is doing this project with as little prejudice as possible. He is going to think of things from other peoples perspective and not just his own. He is opening himself up to see the world in a way he has never viewed it before, “I am sure that in this journey I will come across many distorted images of myself, projections perhaps of what I wish I could understand.” He is doing this to be able to express the truth through his art by giving others a voice as well. One example he uses is in Track one. He explains that from most industrialized countries technology is great; it allows us to go on the internet, talk on the phone, and countless other things. Through new eyes however, one may see that other countries suffer because of our technology and work in sweat shops creating out gadgets that we take for granted.

    The other quote, “The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” I feel this expresses how education frees us from ignorance. I believe that only through knowledge and continued education, in all forms, can we truly be open and turn mirrors into windows. This class is a great example of becoming informed and opening up to what the world really is. If I had not taken this class I would have remained sheltered constantly looking at the mirror of what I believe. I would have no idea how African Americans were manipulated in the media and the prejudices put on homosexuals to the point many live secret lives. I would never be able to see out of the window into the real world without further education and experience.

  3. Lacey DeAngelis says:

    Like Jayme and Austin, these two quotes had me thinking how they are related to my life and education. The quote by Guillermo Gomez-Pena stating to “observe a new world with new eyes” are very powerful words to use when talking about modern day society. Gomez-Pena talks about “entering a new, terrifying era” (p.7), meaning that what society is use to is changing at all times. Some changes are hard to except and confuse many who are not use to or from this “new era”. For example Gomez-Pena mentions how easy it is to access “extreme sexuality” now. What use to be “extreme sexuality” and very controversial over 10 years ago within the art world, is now seen as the everyday “norm” dealing with sexuality. Gomez-Pena mentions an artist named Karen Finley who use to be known for her artworks that were too extreme for most people when she first came out with her artworks, causing her to become banned from in England. Now she can be seen on shows and her works are seen as minor depictions on sexuality. Sexuality is displayed all over, whether it is on the internet, on TV, on the radio, etc., people can easy access it. For example, in New York City while walking around Times Square, I saw many signs and advertisement of half naked people to try to sell their product. This is because our society is falling into that saying, “sex sells”. This is just part of what I believe Gomez-Pena is trying say when he mentions observing a new world with new eyes. To observe a new world with new eyes, you have to look at the world through a noncritical view, realizing that the world will continue to change throughout time, regardless or not if you accept the change.

    The second quote relates more to my education. I believe that the quote, “The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows”, means that my education should help me see things not only in my own way, but see life more clearly through other people lives too. Many of the artists we have studied in this course this semester dealt with learning to see the world not only the way I perceive it, but also through many LGBT, feminist, Hispanic, Native American, African American, and many other artists that could be considered with resistance.

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