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  • Mechanical reproduction Mass production When a work of art is reproduced, it is freed from its establishment in history and its domain in society. 1:Process reproduction like in a photograph can bring out aspects of the original that were blind to the eye, yet accessible to the camera The camera can capture what the naked eye can’t 2: when a work of art is technically reproduced, or manufactured, it meets a consumer halfway by being able to purchase a form of it whether it be a photograph or piece of music, makes it more easily accessible
  • Nichols explains how film uses ‘spectacles’ to deflect the audience from ‘unconscious optics’ that show those interactions that our eyes neglect This is similar to process reproduction in which we experience through the camera lens what we couldn’t see with just the naked eye The second quote demonstrates the changes that mechanical reproduction produces by showing new ways of seeing and recognizing itself
  • Time, space, essence Domain of history Authentic art has basis in Ritual A piece of art reflects the time period that it was created It acts as a response to the times When you look at an old piece you are looking at the history of the times The same goes for music with the blues or swing music
  • Furthering Benjamin’s claim We are engaged in art as it holds a place in history and ritual
  • Basis in ritual aura social significance a work of art can only be perceived authentic and original once when an art form gets mechanically reproduced the aura diminishes from its original For example, Woodstock was a historic event embedded in a time and place consisting of an aura and cannot be replicated no matter how many times the music is reproduced or enhanced The reproduction takes away from the domain of tradition
  • The first quote almost acts as a wake up call to the new ways of seeing that we not only have when his article was written, but also today with the accessibility of cybernetics While it may not be conducive to creating the aura that Benjamin envisions, it is more form fitting to the transformation that cybernetics has had on the general public. It is these new ways of seeing unlike before that we adjust to new means
  • Unlike painting, the process of editing film is much more open for interpretation There is more room to splice and rearrange film to fit the artists needs than painting Editing is les focused on ritual There is less room for mechanical reproduction in the case of film because it is already far from the original The ritual of film is far removed from the original
  • The aspect of aura is replaced with control with the transformation of art to cybernetics With this transformation we are able to control our own aura We become addicted to the idea of the process of simulation rather than the object With the help of the micro-electronic chip, we can create a process of simulation and have it act as a second reality (much like the sims or second life) We have ultimate control over our simulation and therefore our aura with the help of cybernetics
  • One example of this would be a shooting game (Call of Duty, Halo, etc.) This is where the reality of war is simulated and mechanically reproduced to play time and time again at your control Not only do you control your own game, but the aura around it as well While the game itself is unauthentic, each play is controlled by the player and different within its own time and space It is through these simulations that a new aura and essence of time and place are constructed around cybernetics
  • how have social networking sites changed the way we look at aura and ritual  
  • Benjamin

    1. 1. The Battle For Authenticity Starring: Walter Benjamin and Bill Nichols By Rani Mackevich
    2. 2. Walter Benjamin’s Three Main Points “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” <ul><li>Economic Mode of Production </li></ul><ul><li>The Nature of Art </li></ul><ul><li>The Categories of Perception </li></ul>
    3. 3. Economic Mode of Production <ul><li>“ Mechanical reproduction emancipates the work of art from its parasitical dependence on ritual” (Benjamin, IV). </li></ul><ul><li>The Two Fold System of Reproducibility : </li></ul><ul><li>“ Process reproduction is more independent of the original than manual reproduction” (Benjamin, II) </li></ul><ul><li>- “Technical reproduction can put the copy of the original into situations which would be out of reach for the original itself” (Benjamin, II) </li></ul>
    4. 4. Bill Nichols’s Response <ul><li>“ The possibilities for thoroughgoing emancipation are held in check by the economic system surrounding the means of mechanical reproduction…” (Nichols, 628) </li></ul><ul><li>“ The ubiquitous copy also serves as an externalized manifestation of the work of industrial capitalism itself” (Nichols, 628) </li></ul>
    5. 5. The Nature of Art <ul><li>“ This unique existence of the work of art determined the history to which it was subject throughout the time of existence” (Benjamin, II) </li></ul><ul><li>“ The authenticity of a thing is the essence of all that is transmissible from its beginning, ranging from its substantive duration to its testimony to the history which it has experienced” (Benjamin, II) </li></ul><ul><li>“ The uniqueness of a work of art is inseparable from its being imbedded in the fabric of tradition” (Benjamin, IV) </li></ul>
    6. 6. Bill Nichols’s Response <ul><li>“ One thing mechanical reproduction cannot, by definition, reproduce is authenticity. This is at the heart of change if effects in the work of art” (Nichols, 628) </li></ul><ul><li>“ We discover its [aura] use value in the exercise of ritual, in that place, with that object, or in the contemplation of the object for its uniqueness” (Nichols, 628) </li></ul>
    7. 7. Categories of Perception <ul><li>“ One might subsume the eliminated element in the term ‘aura’ and go on to say: that which withers in the age of mechanical reproduction is the aura of the work of art” (Benjamin, II) </li></ul><ul><li>“ It is significant that the existence of the work of art with reference to its aura is never entirely separated from its ritual function” (Benjamin, IV) </li></ul><ul><li>“ For aura is tied to his presence; there can be no replica of it” (Benjamin, IX) </li></ul>
    8. 8. Bill Nichols’s Response <ul><li>“ Developing new ways of seeing to the point where they become habitual is not ideological for Benjamin but transformative” (Nichols, 629) </li></ul><ul><li>“ The process of adopting new ways of seeing that consequently propose new forms of social organization becomes a paradoxical, or dialectical, process…” (Nichols, 629) </li></ul>
    9. 9. Bill Nichol’s “The Work of Culture in the Age of Cybernetic Systems” <ul><li>Mechanical Reproduction and Film Culture </li></ul><ul><li>Cybernetic Systems and Electronic Culture </li></ul><ul><li>The Cybernetic Metaphor: Transformations of Self and Reality </li></ul><ul><li>Purpose, System, Power: Transformative Potential Versus Conservative Practice </li></ul>
    10. 10. Mechanical Reproduction and Film Culture <ul><li>“ Montage rips things from their original place in an assigned sequence and reassembles them in everchanging combinations that make the contemplation invited by painting impossible” (Nichols, 628) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Mechanical reproduction involves the appropriation of an original, although with film even the notion of an original fades: that which is filmed has been organized in order to be filmed” (Nichols, 629) </li></ul>
    11. 11. Cybernetic Systems and Electronic Culture <ul><li>“ The consequence of systems without aura, systems that replace direct encounter and realize otherwise inconceivable projections and possibilities, is a fetishism of such systems and processes of control themselves” (Nichols, 632) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Fetishistic addiction to a process of logical simulation rather than a fascination with a fetishized object of desire” (Nichols, 633) </li></ul><ul><li>“ The micro-electronic chip draws us into a realm, a design for living, that fosters a fetishized relationship with the simulation as a new reality all its own based on the capacity to control…what one had once eluded control beyond it” (Nichols, 633) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Cybernetic simulations offer the possibility of completely replacing any direct connection with the experiential realm beyond their bounds” (Nichols, 634) </li></ul>
    12. 12. The Cybernetic Metaphor: Transformations of Self and Reality <ul><li>“ The real becomes simulation. Simulacra, in turn, serve as the mythopoeic impetus for that sense of the real we posit beyond the simulation” (Nichols, 635) </li></ul><ul><li>“ The important issue here is that the power of cybernetic simulations prompts a redefinition of such fundamental terms as life and reality…” (Nichols, 635) </li></ul>
    13. 13. Purpose, System, Power: Transformative Potential Versus Conservative Practice <ul><li>“… Liberation from a cultural tradition bound to aura and ritual, brings the actual process of constructing meaning and social reality, into sharper focus” (Nichols, 639) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Cybernetic systems and the cyborg as human metaphor refute a heritage that celebrates individual free will and subjectivity” (Nichols, 640) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Our consciousness of something indicates the presence of a problem in need of solution, and cybernetic systems theory has mainly solved the problem of capitalist systems that exploit and deplete their human and natural environment…” (Nichols, 640) </li></ul>
    14. 14. Bibliography <ul><li>Benjamin, Walter. “The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction.” H. Zohn (Trans.), Illuminations: Essays and reflections New York: Schocken. 1968. </li></ul><ul><li>Nichols, Bill. &quot;Culture in the Age of Cybernetic Systems.&quot; The New Media Reader . New York: The MIT P, 2003. </li></ul>