Sunday, March 24, 2013

Illuminations: Walter Benjamin

After reading Benjamin's article I found his point on how the mechanical reproduction of artwork robs it of its creativity very interesting. As an artist, I understand the immediate and personal connection with a piece of work after creating it. The connection you feel when seeing a painting in real life is very unique to the viewer verse seeing a reproduced photographic image online. Benjamin describes it as the art's "aura" to explain the originality of the work created by the artist and of the artwork. He claims that it separates it in time and space. Reproducing the work separates creation from the creator and takes away its originality. It strips its quality away, for example when you see an artist live verses a recording. Benjamin argues that its authenticity is lost. The audiences of reproducible art, in movies for example, do not have a complete or authentic relationship with it. I think the production of films hides things from the viewer and fogs the viewer’s vision of reality. I would have to agree with Benjamin's point. There is something lost with the advancement in technology that makes reproduction so quick easy and viral that may strip the artist and work of art of its "aura". I think that Benjamin's argument is very convincing. I think it is seen today in music and the reproduction of it. A live concert experience is very different than listening to the same band on your Spotify playlist. I think that something is lost when you hear a recording of the song verse hearing it in the moment. Benjamin makes an interesting point stating that the “Public is an examiner, but an absent-minded one”. In a sense, I think that we absent-mindedly absorb the media by subjecting ourselves to it than letting the art absorb us. I think our society now fails to understand the beauty and splendor in the simplicity of things.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that the reproduction of art means that it loses something. But we live in a world in which very little is original. Baudrillard talks about simulacra -- the simulations of things that were never real to begin with (think Disneyworld). And, what is most interesting, is that everything is constantly trying to establish an aura of authenticity, even if there is nothing "authentic" about it. You might think about Jimmy Johns trying to seem like a local sandwich shop. Of course, Jimmy Johns isn't what most people would call art (although their sandwiches are delicious), but it is indicative of a culture that does not value authenticity and a close relationship with the creation.