Art and the age of mechanical reproduction
The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Walter BenjaminOne of the most important works of cultural theory ever written, Walter Benjamins groundbreaking essay explores how the age of mass media means audiences can listen to or see a work of art repeatedly - and what the troubling social and political implications of this are. Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.
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Benjamin is particularly positive about film because film actors perform for the camera and this enables the audience to assume a more objective stance see sections He is also positive about the new form of distracted perception brought about by new media in the penultimate paragraph. German Literature. Search this site. Navigation Home. Guide Books.
February 28, by ginal. How does human sense perception related to history? Is it a universal perspective that is being critiqued here? Can there be a universal perspective in the first place? Benjamin here attempts to mark something specific about the modern age; of the effects of modernity on the work of art in particular. Film and photography point to this movement.
The essay is credited with developing an insightful interpretation of the role technological reproduction plays in shaping aesthetic experience; more specifically, Benjamin catalogues the significant effects of film and photography on the decline of autonomous aesthetic experience. This publication appeared in French translation under the direction of Raymond Aron in volume 5, no. Benjamin subsequently rewrote the essay and after editorial work by Theodore and Margarethe Adorno it was posthumously published in its commonly recognized form in his Schriften of Wolin In order to catalogue and ultimately subvert classical and Romantic aesthetic ideals, Benjamin describes the process by which modern technological reproduction strips these institutions and their iconic artworks of their aesthetic authority. Benjamin claims that in times past the role of art has been to provide a magical foundation for the cult.
translated by Harry Zohn, from the essay. New York: Schocken Books, . The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. WALTER BENJAMIN.
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By Andrew Robinson. This short piece provides a general history of changes in art in the modern age. It is also historical. In Marxist fashion, Benjamin sees the transformations of art as an effect of changes in the economic structure. Art is coming to resemble economic production, albeit at a delayed pace.
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