Sunday, December 12, 2010

Walter Benjamin

Walter Benjamin's "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" talks about what the shift from manual to mechanical reproduction had on art in the 1930's. With most of the technologies he touched on being new at the time. He writes about nature and original art having a common "aura" that is lost in mechanical reproduction. Destroying the aura of art frees it from the constraints of tradition. He states that from tradition it falls into the realm of economy and politics. It becomes a thing for distribution and not pilgrimage. He goes on to site the many differences between physical viewing and surrogate viewing. He hints on the paradox that a stage made to look like a place is far more real than the actual view of a place as seen in a movie. He also looks at the way in which photography has informed painting and visa versa, vis a vie close ups.

I found this reading did not have very much to offer my work. It was an interesting thing to read how someone from 80 odd years ago thought of the impact on reproduction on art. But given the nature of my work, I don't feel it had much more to offer than a history lesson.

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