The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1935)Walter Benjamin<br />ARIN6903<br />César Albarrán Torres<br />
Works of art have always been reproducible (replicas for training, diffusing work and monetary gain), but mechanical repro...
The many faces of Monalisa<br />
What a reproduction lacks…<br />Presence in time and space (how do we define these in the 21st century)?<br />History of o...
Where does digital reproduction fit?<br />“Process reproduction is more independent of the original than manual reproducti...
Did Michelangelo intend this?<br />
Aura<br />“[…] that which withers in the age of mechanical reproduction is the aura of the work of art.” (Benjamin, 1935: ...
Aura: a psychotic example<br />
Resonance in the digital age<br />“It is easier to exhibit a portrait bust that can be sent here and there than to exhibit...
Resonance in the digital age<br />“Thus, the distinction between author and public is about to lose its basic character […...
Massive simultaneous reception<br />“Simultaneous collective experience” Benjamin identified in film, multiplied by X fact...
Original?<br />What is the original work of art in digital creations? Does the aura still exist? <br />
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Arin6903(walterbenjamin)

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For ARIN6903, Exploring Digital Cultures, MDCC, The University of Sydney.

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Arin6903(walterbenjamin)

  1. 1. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1935)Walter Benjamin<br />ARIN6903<br />César Albarrán Torres<br />
  2. 2. Works of art have always been reproducible (replicas for training, diffusing work and monetary gain), but mechanical reproduction is new.<br />Lithography: new stage as it enabled graphic art to illustrate everyday life. <br />Reproduction acquires place of its own in artistic process. Warhol, Posadas and others understood this. <br />
  3. 3. The many faces of Monalisa<br />
  4. 4. What a reproduction lacks…<br />Presence in time and space (how do we define these in the 21st century)?<br />History of ownership and physical condition. <br />Authenticity: “The whole sphere of authenticity is outside technical– and of course, not only technical.” (Benjamin, 1935: 214)<br />The quality of the presence and the historical testimony of a work of art is depreciated.<br />
  5. 5. Where does digital reproduction fit?<br />“Process reproduction is more independent of the original than manual reproduction.” (Ibidem)<br />“[…] technical reproduction can put the copy of the original into situations which would be out of reach for the original itself.” (Ibidem)<br />
  6. 6. Did Michelangelo intend this?<br />
  7. 7. Aura<br />“[…] that which withers in the age of mechanical reproduction is the aura of the work of art.” (Benjamin, 1935: 215)<br />Aura: “uniqueness of a work of art”, “inseparable from its being imbedded in the fabric of tradition”. <br />A work of art is never separated from its “ritual function”. <br />
  8. 8. Aura: a psychotic example<br />
  9. 9. Resonance in the digital age<br />“It is easier to exhibit a portrait bust that can be sent here and there than to exhibit a statue of a divinity that has its fixed place in the interior of a temple.” (219)<br />“In photography, exhibition value begins to displace cult value all along the line.”(Ibidem)<br />Film actor: “His creation is by no means all of a piece, it is composed of many different performances.” (Ibidem) <br />
  10. 10. Resonance in the digital age<br />“Thus, the distinction between author and public is about to lose its basic character […] the reader gains access to authorship.” (Benjamin, 1935)<br />Produsage(2008): “Users who participate in […] processes of massively parallelized and decentralized creativity and innovation in myriads of enthusiast communities do no longer produce content, ideas, and knowledge in a way that resembles traditional, industrial modes of production” (Bruns, 2008) For extended, updated information visit: www.produsage.org<br />
  11. 11. Massive simultaneous reception<br />“Simultaneous collective experience” Benjamin identified in film, multiplied by X factor in the Internet.<br />www.fat-pie.comFlash animations by David Firth, reproduction part of aura. <br />
  12. 12. Original?<br />What is the original work of art in digital creations? Does the aura still exist? <br />

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