Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit

Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit Benjamin S Famous Work Of Art Essay Sets Out His Boldest Thoughts On Media And On Culture In General In Their Most Realized Form, While Retaining An Edge That Gets Under The Skin Of Everyone Who Reads It In This Essay The Visual Arts Of The Machine Age Morph Into Literature And Theory And Then Back Again To Images, Gestures, And ThoughtThis Book Contains Only This Essay Art is either for the cult, or for exhibition One implies a religious aura, the other suggests a political intention Before the age of mechanical reproduction, art was or less for the cult surrounding it, ie it had some sort of sacrosanct essence But when the work of art becomes merely another commodity, eyed by the masses, and ceasing to have a physical history, you lose that precious uniqueness and aura surrounding it This is specifically the case with paintings and books Film, a main topic in the essay, is another matter altogether The artificial and standardized voyeurism the carefully hidden productive and mechanical apparatuses of the movie set the quickly moving scenes suppressing contemplation all these are essential elements of the movie experience It s obviously not a good thing to Benjamin, but it is what it is Commodify everything, appeal to the broadest consumer base The Capitalist Manifesto Benjamin is illuminating, but in the end futile Despite his many intellectual children, none of them have at all put a dent in this phenomenon, and it s only been exacerbated Glad I read this the day after going to LA s Getty and MOCA art musems, it put the works in a much different context Nothing inherently seems sacred nor political about modern art Instead, perhaps the cult and the exhibition have fused into the cult of exhibition That would describe something like Instagram, at least Anyways, I digress. One of the most influential essays on art and aesthetics in the twentieth century, Walter Benjamin s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, written in 1935, points out how works of art are diminished by mechanical reproduction To share a modest taste of the great German philosopher s thinking outlined in this influential essay, here are a number of quotes along with my comments In principle a work of art has always been reproducible Mechanical reproduction of a work of art, however, represents something new Benjamin is speaking of film and magazines Of course, the reproduction of works of art nowadays on the internet makes all art available to all people at all time This can cut both ways on the downside, the copy isn t even close to the original we judge a ten foot canvas by a ten inch photo but I greatly appreciate how I can view art from around the world instantly Not to mention that I listen to hours of string quartet music and world music every single day in the comfort of my own home If films are added to the mix, I strongly suspect nearly everybody reading this likewise benefits from the arts being reproduced mechanically and electronically Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be We have to go to Kyoto to experience the real Zen garden not nearly the same thing as looking at a photograph Process reproduction is independent of the original than manual reproduction For example, in photography, process reproduction can bring out those aspects of the original that are unattainable to the naked eye yet accessible to the lens, which is adjustable and chooses its angle at will The camera highlighting unique features of the human face can make the photograph both remarkable and unforgettable, especially true if the face is the face of a celebrity And photographic reproduction, with the aid of certain processes, such as enlargement or slow motion, can capture images which escape natural vision As per this photo capturing a moment of dynamic movement in a dance Technical reproduction can put the copy of the original into situations which would be out of reach for the original itself Above all, it enables the original to meet the beholder halfway, be it in the form of a photograph or a phonograph record Andy Warhol grasped the power of rendering an artistic image by his own artistic enhancement The situations into which the product of mechanical reproduction can be brought may not touch the actual work of art, yet the quality of its presence is always depreciated I viewed this stunning Winslow Homer at an exhibition in New York The extraordinary power of the painting almost put me on my knees The photo captures only a very small fraction of the artist s work, thus the truth of Benjamin s words the art is depreciated This holds not only for the art work but also, for instance, for a landscape which passes in review before the spectator in a movie What s true for art is also true for nature For example, the desert in this film is stripped of its overwhelming presence for the moviegoer 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 According to Benjamin, each work of art contains its own aura, an element completely lacking in reproduction One might generalize by saying the technique of reproduction detaches the reproduced object from the domain of tradition By making many reproductions it substitutes a plurality of copies for a unique existence Oceanic tribal art displayed in a museum Quite a difference from the tribespeople who used this art as part of their religious and communal rituals To pry an object from its shell, to destroy its aura, is the mark of a perception whose sense of the universal equality of things has increased to such a degree that it extracts it even from a unique object by means of reproduction Statues of saints on entry in medieval cathedral in Koeln, Germany via a photo that eliminates the cathedral The film actor lacks the opportunity of the stage actor to adjust to the audience during his performance, since he does not present his performance to the audience in person Every live performance is unique and different every single night, in part, based on the audience s participation and response, an element completely lacking in film All efforts to render politics aesthetic culminate in one thing war In a Nazi rally, aspects of aesthetics were incorporated so as to bring such a great mass of people under the will of the F hrer Even visitors from other countries reported how moved they were by such a spectacle The Nazis and their war machine were the prime example for Walter Benjamin The great thinker, one of the most sensitive souls in all of Europe, committed suicide to avoid abduction by the Nazis. I m a mild mannered guy, passionately mild mannered I should say, as I m not very demonstrative, rarely boiling, but always at a simmer And I m not boiling now, but I am annoyed, vaguely so, and I m looking for some help to specify my annoyance, or refute it.This past Saturday night I was at a party and this relatively new store, or boutique, in Philadelphia kept coming up as a topic of conversation The name of this boutique is Art in the Age, which in its fullness reveals itself as Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction Without even getting into what they sell, I have a problem right here, in this place s very name I have a problem with books whose titles specifically reference other, famous, and than likely better, books but to find out that a store specifically references a famous essay, an essay that has considerable intellectual hipster not to say pretentious cachet, nearly shattered my mild mannered fa ade And this before I even knew what they sell, or the prices they charge Though I m not a shopper, I do appreciate nice stores and stores with well designed signs and windows, and even attractive interiors though to enter a store with no intention of shelling out makes me self conscious but when I contemplate the actual mercantile nitty gritty of such stores I get upset I m someone who thinks that almost everything is over priced, and the nature of our economy and its utter reliance on ever growing personal debt pisses me off So I like the superficial aspects of nice stores, but loathe their substance , and while at the same time acknowledging that to have these superficial aspects there must be inveterate shoppers with than likely ever growing debt, I sneer nearly imperceptibly at these shoppers as I m appreciating the window dressing.I have never entered the Art in the Age store, but I have visited their website, and, like a store window I can enjoy, their website is well designed, with just enough intellectualism and restrained hipster artiness dotted between their quiet ploys to extract cash or credit from our pockets And while there are profiles of actual artists and or artisans, and musicians, on their site, giving one the impression that the store might actually be an art gallery or a soundspace, when I looked further into what they sell what do I find 34 t shirts, 120 scarves, 60 hoodies, 80 ties, 230 backpacks, etc.Now I understand that these prices are on the low end of boutique prices, but they re still over priced and this gets me to Benjamin I realized I had actually never read this essay, as the title itself seemed self explanatory and sufficient unto itself, so in order not to be just another Benjaminian poseur who spouts out titles without having read the body, someone who is nothing but window dressing with nothing for sale inside, I woke up Sunday and read the essay.And what, in relation to this store, stood out for me in the essay His discussion of how taste, i.e connoisseurship, developed when people became distanced from the actual means of production As a kind of compensatory action, to cover up guilt ignorance etc because of their inability to make the things, individuals developed ever refined tastes in common items It s clear how this led to seemingly bustling economies, as scarves went from something you or your grandmother would knit to something simply plucked off a rack at 120 a pop The foundation of economies are over priced items So how does the proprietor of this store reconcile this with his store s Benjamin references Sure, these scarves are handmade by artisans, a good thing, but they are purchased by non artisan connoisseur shoppers who are than likely going deeper into debt Strip away the Benjamin references and I can swallow it, however reluctantly, but with them it s all a marketing house of cards.Elsewhere in the essay Benjamin comes off as maybe a bit reactionary, especially in his discussion of film, though I loved his idea that in order to compensate for films lack of aura the movers and shakers behind the industry created living breathing stars who had aura to burn however sham to fill in an aesthetic gap and assure the perpetual growth of film as an industry I don t accept that films have no aura simply because they are mechanical reproductions Or is our age so degraded that I can sense an aura in film that isn t there There are plenty of plums to be picked here, juicy little tidbits to artfully display in one s intellectual window, but also plenty of meat to fully stock the shelves within And the best thing about it is that it s inexpensive, ever renewable, and intellectually nourishing, something real and something useful. Paul Klee, Angelus NovusThis is how one pictures the angel of history His face is turned toward the past Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed But a storm is blowing from Paradise it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward This storm is what we call progress Drink pairing

Walter Bendix Sch nflies Benjamin was a German Jewish Marxist literary critic, essayist, translator, and philosopher He was at times associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory and was also greatly inspired by the Marxism of Bertolt Brecht and Jewish mysticism as presented by Gershom Scholem.As a sociological and cultural critic, Benjamin combined ideas drawn from historical materiali

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  • Paperback
  • 50 pages
  • Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit
  • Walter Benjamin
  • English
  • 03 December 2019
  • 9781453722480

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