Again, the comparison with painting is fruitful. And that is what one is entitled to ask from a work of art. He sees the aura, authenticity, and uniqueness of works of art as fundamentally connected to their insertion in a tradition.
Since, moreover, individuals are tempted to avoid such tasks, art will tackle the most difficult and most important ones where it is able to mobilize the masses. Only exceptionally may such a slip have revealed dimensions of depth in a conversation which had seemed to be taking its course on the surface.
The extravagances and crudities of art which thus appear, particularly in the so-called decadent epochs, actually arise from the nucleus of its richest historical energies. An example would be the use of puppets in protests. Such fusion is of great social significance.
Ivins, who knows prints as well as anyone, defines prints as exact, reproducible visual statements that are more important for their capacity to transmit knowledge than for their artistry.
First, writing about plays, Benjamin seems to equivocate in Section IX, where he ties the aura both to the physical presence of the stage actor and so the film audience does not perceive an aura around the actor, which seems wrong as a matter of fact and to the presence of an audience although the audience is not present for the painter or sculptor any more than for the screen actor.
The integration of photographic techniques in the s, a change that allowed as many as impressions to be reproduced per hour, resulted in the gradual "erosion of…independent craftsmanship" at a time when the nineteenth-century workshop, with its "fragmentation of production" into many different specialist tasks, already "drove a wedge" between the manufacture of prints and intellectual input.
Benjamin also discusses the impact on actors of performing for a machine instead of a human audience. The whole sphere of authenticity is outside technical — and, of course, not only technical — reproducibility. In the decline of middle-class society, contemplation became a school for asocial behavior; it was countered by distraction as a variant of social conduct.
Perhaps everyone in the mainstream at leastto an increasing degree, turn into commodities voluntarily, through media exhibitionism, or involuntarily, through surveillance — while also copying commodified ways of acting from the media.
My thoughts have been replaced by moving images. Every day the need to possess the object in close-up in the form of a picture, or rather a copy, becomes more imperative.
The film with its shock effect meets this mode of reception halfway. This is most obvious with regard to buildings. They are, on the other hand, useful for the formulation of revolutionary demands in the politics of art. Epilogue The growing proletarianization of modern man and the increasing formation of masses are two aspects of the same process.
But the third, at least as I argue here, overreaches. This circumstance, more than any other, renders superficial and insignificant any possible similarity between a scene in the studio and one on the stage.An analysis of art in the age of mechanical reproduction must do justice to these relationships, for they lead us to an all-important insight: for the first time in world history, mechanical reproduction emancipates the work of art from its parasitical dependence on ritual.
Oct 22, · Best Answer: Walter Benjamin's essay "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" begins with the assumption that the very definition of art is flexible, varying in response to the historical conditions of its production, distribution, and reception.
The essay addresses a modern Status: Resolved. The primary thesis of Benjamin's "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" is that mechanical reproduction has rendered art useless to fascism. With mechanical reproduction, which appears in its most radical forms in film and photography, millions of images of an original are circulated, all of which lack the “authentic” aura of their source.
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. In “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” Benjamin argued that an art-work’s aura originates in the cultic value of art.
This cultic value has been secularized as a cult of beauty and ultimately challenged by the revolutionary means of production—photography—and the political rise of .Download