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CULTURAL STUDIES:
CHAPTER 2: THE WORK OF
THE ART IN THE AGE OF
MECHANICAL
REPRODUCTION
Walter Benjamin
Mary Fattor
BRIEF INTRODUCTION
TO CULTURE THEORY
• 19th century since the Marxism movement began, the word
“culture” is connoted as political
• Domination-assuring rule of one class over the other and
resistance to domination
• Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer (Dialectic of
Enlightenment)-mass culture-television, radio, film, cheap
paperbacks, another form of domination, way for capitalism to
offer gratification to people condemned to lives of work.
WALTER BENJAMIN
• Birth: Berlin, 15 July 1892 to a wealthy family
• German Jew
• Der Anfang (The Beginning)-magazine that published poems and prose on the
subject of a new religiosity and the questions of youth. Wrote Essays such as
« Sleeping Beauty » 1911
• 1912-Albert Ludwigs University of Friedburg im Breisgau-Philology &
Philosophy
• Oct. 1912-studies at Royal Wilheim Friedrich University in Berlin
-Introduced to Zionism–Zionism-formation of Jewish state
• *1915-evaded WWI. He was deferred twice *
• 1919-University of Berne-dissertation on The Concept of Criticism in German
Romanticism
• He wrote an essay on a study of two poems by Fredrich Hoderlin.
• Process of translation: Baudelaire poems such as Tableaux Parisiens
• Died: committed suicide in Port Bau-26 September 1940
-Leslie 23, 24,26,33,32
-Ferris 5, 8, 215
THE WORK OF ART IN THE
AGE OF MECHANICAL
REPRODUCTION
• **1935 essay**
• Author Walter Benjamin argues for a connection between
changes in the technology of culture:
• 1.) revolution of: film (slow motion), photography (close up)
• 2.)changes in consciousness
• -Facism
• -Futurists
TERMS
• Futurist= right-wing cultural group that thought war was an aesthetic
experience. Someone who studies social, political, and technical
developments to understand what may happen in the future.
• Unique existence= the history & time that the work of art was completed.
• Fascism=political system based on a very powerful leader, state control of
social and economic life, and extreme pride in country and race, with no
expression of political disagreement allowed.
• « Aura » = that which withers in the age of mechanical reproduction.
• « pure » art = denied social function of art. « Stephane Mallarmé ».
• Benjamin: 1235, 1236, Cambridge dictionary, Poetry Foundation
MANUAL
REPRODUCTION
• Connotated with forgery
• Original-kept all of the art’s discernable features
• Process reproduction- a new work of art rather than manual
reproduction-staying the same
• EX: digital photography: photo is dark with natural lighting,
process reproduction can help discern what is hidden
TECHNOLOGICAL
REPRODUCTION
• 1900- EPIPHANY in technology
• Capacity to reproduce all art
• Change in impact upon public
• Considered another form of art
-(Benjamin 1235)
TECHNOLOGICAL
REPRESENTATION
« easy accessibility of postcard representations of « great art »,
illustrations in books and magazines, posters; copies that could be
acquired, held in the hand, cut out and incorporated into viewer’s
environment ». (161)
----Technology replaces the « human touch » to the work of art
MYSTERIOUS
MONA LISA
portrait 1503, in Florence (16th
century) Portrait of Lisa
Gherardini, wife of Francesco del
Giocondo
-Louvre: 1797
perfect reproduction of a work of art
• lacking in one element: presence
in time and space, unique
existence of the work of art
determined history to which it
was subject throughout includes :
-Physicality: varnishes, haze
-Ownerships
-Copies: 17th, 18th, 19th century
Benjamin: 1235,(Huffington Post Culture),
Louvre Website
FILM AND POLITICS
« with regard to the screen critical and receptive attitudes of the
public coincide »
« The individual reactions are predetermined by the mass
audience response they are about to produce, and this is nowhere
more pronounced than in the film.
-Benjamin 1237
ART OF FILM AND
POLITICS
• Renewal of mankind
• Connected with contemporary mass movements
• -Fascism
EX: An audience watches a comedy film.
-funny scene
-to laugh or not to laugh?
-laugh-support
-not laugh-rebelious, expression of disagreement
FASCISM
• The political movement seeks to give the masses a chance to
express themselves, but at the same time preserving the
property.
• Aesthetic function in war: only choice for mass movements. War
makes it possible to mobilize today’s technical resources while
maintaining the property system
• Filippo Tomnaso Marinetti-Ethiopian colonial war
• Benjamin 1239
AESTHETICS OF WAR
• Imperialistic warefare-rebellion of technology that collects
“human material”
• Experience self-alienation, its own self-destruction as an
aesthetic pleasure. This is what fascism sees in the aesthetics of
war.
SUMMARY
• Function of art changes with the appearances of technology-
based art forms such as photography, cinema
• Art is no longer appreciated in same manner as by individual in
contrast with; rather received collectively by a mass audience
with a political purpose.
SOURCES
• Walter Benjamin-
http://search.tb.ask.com/search/AJimage.jhtml?&searchfor=walter+benjamin&p2=%5EAFW%5Exdm040%5EYYA%5Eus&
n=780CE656&ss=sub&st=hp&ptb=22746D22-15D8-407B-B593-
019381BFE66F&si=trackmypurchase&tpr=sbt&imgs=1p&filter=on&imgDetail=true
• Benjamin, Walter. “Chapter 2: The Work of the Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction ”. Literary Theory: An
Anthology. 2nd ed. Ed. Julie Rivkin & Michael Ryan. Oxford, UK. Blackwell Publishing Limited, 2004. 1247, 1248,1251,
1252, 1253 Print.
• Stephane Mallarmé- http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/stephane-mallarme
• Mona Lisa- http://artobserved.com/category/newslinks/
• Mona Lisa website-http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/mona-lisa-portrait-lisa-gherardini-wife-francesco-del-giocondo
• Florence photo. http://home.messiah.edu/~ar1277/page3.html
• Huffington Post Culture: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/10/famous-artworks-different_n_6101952.html
• Leslie, Esther. Walter Benjamin. London: Reaktion Books, 2007. Print.
• Fascism: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/fascism
• Benjamin, Andrew E. Walter Benjamin and Art. London: Continuum, 2005. Print.
• Ferris, David S. The Cambridge Introduction to Walter Benjamin. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Print.
(death gruesome page).

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cultural studies chapter 2 the work of art....

  • 1. CULTURAL STUDIES: CHAPTER 2: THE WORK OF THE ART IN THE AGE OF MECHANICAL REPRODUCTION Walter Benjamin Mary Fattor
  • 2. BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO CULTURE THEORY • 19th century since the Marxism movement began, the word “culture” is connoted as political • Domination-assuring rule of one class over the other and resistance to domination • Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer (Dialectic of Enlightenment)-mass culture-television, radio, film, cheap paperbacks, another form of domination, way for capitalism to offer gratification to people condemned to lives of work.
  • 3. WALTER BENJAMIN • Birth: Berlin, 15 July 1892 to a wealthy family • German Jew • Der Anfang (The Beginning)-magazine that published poems and prose on the subject of a new religiosity and the questions of youth. Wrote Essays such as « Sleeping Beauty » 1911 • 1912-Albert Ludwigs University of Friedburg im Breisgau-Philology & Philosophy • Oct. 1912-studies at Royal Wilheim Friedrich University in Berlin -Introduced to Zionism–Zionism-formation of Jewish state • *1915-evaded WWI. He was deferred twice * • 1919-University of Berne-dissertation on The Concept of Criticism in German Romanticism • He wrote an essay on a study of two poems by Fredrich Hoderlin. • Process of translation: Baudelaire poems such as Tableaux Parisiens • Died: committed suicide in Port Bau-26 September 1940 -Leslie 23, 24,26,33,32 -Ferris 5, 8, 215
  • 4. THE WORK OF ART IN THE AGE OF MECHANICAL REPRODUCTION • **1935 essay** • Author Walter Benjamin argues for a connection between changes in the technology of culture: • 1.) revolution of: film (slow motion), photography (close up) • 2.)changes in consciousness • -Facism • -Futurists
  • 5. TERMS • Futurist= right-wing cultural group that thought war was an aesthetic experience. Someone who studies social, political, and technical developments to understand what may happen in the future. • Unique existence= the history & time that the work of art was completed. • Fascism=political system based on a very powerful leader, state control of social and economic life, and extreme pride in country and race, with no expression of political disagreement allowed. • « Aura » = that which withers in the age of mechanical reproduction. • « pure » art = denied social function of art. « Stephane Mallarmé ». • Benjamin: 1235, 1236, Cambridge dictionary, Poetry Foundation
  • 6. MANUAL REPRODUCTION • Connotated with forgery • Original-kept all of the art’s discernable features • Process reproduction- a new work of art rather than manual reproduction-staying the same • EX: digital photography: photo is dark with natural lighting, process reproduction can help discern what is hidden
  • 7. TECHNOLOGICAL REPRODUCTION • 1900- EPIPHANY in technology • Capacity to reproduce all art • Change in impact upon public • Considered another form of art -(Benjamin 1235)
  • 8. TECHNOLOGICAL REPRESENTATION « easy accessibility of postcard representations of « great art », illustrations in books and magazines, posters; copies that could be acquired, held in the hand, cut out and incorporated into viewer’s environment ». (161) ----Technology replaces the « human touch » to the work of art
  • 9. MYSTERIOUS MONA LISA portrait 1503, in Florence (16th century) Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo -Louvre: 1797 perfect reproduction of a work of art • lacking in one element: presence in time and space, unique existence of the work of art determined history to which it was subject throughout includes : -Physicality: varnishes, haze -Ownerships -Copies: 17th, 18th, 19th century Benjamin: 1235,(Huffington Post Culture), Louvre Website
  • 10. FILM AND POLITICS « with regard to the screen critical and receptive attitudes of the public coincide » « The individual reactions are predetermined by the mass audience response they are about to produce, and this is nowhere more pronounced than in the film. -Benjamin 1237
  • 11. ART OF FILM AND POLITICS • Renewal of mankind • Connected with contemporary mass movements • -Fascism EX: An audience watches a comedy film. -funny scene -to laugh or not to laugh? -laugh-support -not laugh-rebelious, expression of disagreement
  • 12. FASCISM • The political movement seeks to give the masses a chance to express themselves, but at the same time preserving the property. • Aesthetic function in war: only choice for mass movements. War makes it possible to mobilize today’s technical resources while maintaining the property system • Filippo Tomnaso Marinetti-Ethiopian colonial war • Benjamin 1239
  • 13. AESTHETICS OF WAR • Imperialistic warefare-rebellion of technology that collects “human material” • Experience self-alienation, its own self-destruction as an aesthetic pleasure. This is what fascism sees in the aesthetics of war.
  • 14. SUMMARY • Function of art changes with the appearances of technology- based art forms such as photography, cinema • Art is no longer appreciated in same manner as by individual in contrast with; rather received collectively by a mass audience with a political purpose.
  • 15. SOURCES • Walter Benjamin- http://search.tb.ask.com/search/AJimage.jhtml?&searchfor=walter+benjamin&p2=%5EAFW%5Exdm040%5EYYA%5Eus& n=780CE656&ss=sub&st=hp&ptb=22746D22-15D8-407B-B593- 019381BFE66F&si=trackmypurchase&tpr=sbt&imgs=1p&filter=on&imgDetail=true • Benjamin, Walter. “Chapter 2: The Work of the Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction ”. Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd ed. Ed. Julie Rivkin & Michael Ryan. Oxford, UK. Blackwell Publishing Limited, 2004. 1247, 1248,1251, 1252, 1253 Print. • Stephane Mallarmé- http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/stephane-mallarme • Mona Lisa- http://artobserved.com/category/newslinks/ • Mona Lisa website-http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/mona-lisa-portrait-lisa-gherardini-wife-francesco-del-giocondo • Florence photo. http://home.messiah.edu/~ar1277/page3.html • Huffington Post Culture: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/10/famous-artworks-different_n_6101952.html • Leslie, Esther. Walter Benjamin. London: Reaktion Books, 2007. Print. • Fascism: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/fascism • Benjamin, Andrew E. Walter Benjamin and Art. London: Continuum, 2005. Print. • Ferris, David S. The Cambridge Introduction to Walter Benjamin. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Print. (death gruesome page).

Editor's Notes

  1. « gliding, flowing, supernatural movements » (1239)
  2. painting at right: finished by Da Vinci’s apprentice (not an exact copy, but the live flesh coloring is what gives us a glimpse of the original before the restaruation process began.
  3. Might take out