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Art, Aura and Authenticity How has capitalism affected our experiences of art and the media? In the third of his eight-part series on critical theorist Walter Benjamin, Andrew Robinson examines Benjamin's famous thesis that mechanical reproduction has transformed the arts, and explores what a 'political art' might look like.
By Andrew Robinson Source: This short piece provides a general history of changes in art in the modern age. It is also historical. In Marxist fashion, Benjamin sees the transformations of art as an effect of changes in the economic structure. Art is coming to resemble economic production, albeit at a delayed pace.
The movement from contemplation to distraction is creating big changes in how people sense and perceive. The aura includes a sensory experience of distance between the reader and the work of art. The aura has disappeared in the modern age because art has become reproducible.
Think of the way a work of classic literature can be bought cheaply in paperback, or a painting bought as a poster. Think also of newer forms of art, such as TV shows and adverts. Then compare these to the experience of staring at an original work of art in a gallery, or visiting a unique historic building.
This is the difference Benjamin is trying to capture. The aura is an effect of a work of art being uniquely present in time and space.
It is connected to the idea of authenticity. A reproduced artwork is never fully present.
If there is no original, it is never fully present anywhere. Authenticity cannot be reproduced, and disappears when everything is reproduced.
Benjamin thinks that even the original is depreciated, because it is no longer unique. Along with their authenticity, objects also lose their authority. The masses contribute to the loss of aura by seeking constantly to bring things closer.
They create reproducible realities and hence destroy uniqueness. This is apparent, for instance, in the rise of statistics. The traditional work of art is experienced mainly through distanced contemplation.Sep 25, · Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction focuses on the changes in art as a medium, both cultural and social, by the invention of mechanical reproduction.
1 The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction Walter Benjamin Outline by Philip Turetzky Valery quote Preface: The self-abolition of capital requires new non-fascist concepts of art. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction that which withers in the age of mechanical reproduction is the aura of the work of art.
This is a symptomatic process whose significance points beyond the realm ofart. One might generalize by saying: the technique of reproduction th.e. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (, Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit), by Walter Benjamin, is an essay of cultural criticism which proposes that the aura of a work of art is devalued by mechanical reproduction.
Perhaps Benjamin’s best-known work is ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’. This short piece provides a general history of changes in art in the modern age. This short piece provides a general history of changes in art in the modern age. - Art in the Movie Basquiat Walter Benjamin projected the future of art in the age of mechanical reproduction, providing the basis of aesthetic evaluation for photography, film, digital and reproducible art.