The article was published in French inin German in andand in English in Benjamin argues that the work of art transforms over time and that historians must recognize this transformation. Art works in particular ways in the age of mechanical reproduction.
But the amazing growth of our techniques, the adaptability and precision they have attained, the ideas and habits they are creating, make it a certainty that profound changes are impending in the ancient craft of the Beautiful.
In all the arts there is a physical component which can no longer be considered or treated as it used to be, which cannot remain unaffected by our modern knowledge and power. For the last twenty years neither matter nor space nor time has been what it was from time Mechanical reproduction.
We must expect great innovations to transform the entire technique of the arts, thereby affecting artistic invention itself and perhaps even bringing about an amazing change in our very notion of art. Marx directed his efforts in such a way as to give them prognostic value.
He went back to the basic conditions underlying capitalistic production and through his presentation showed what could be expected of capitalism in the future. The result was that one could expect it not only to exploit the proletariat with increasing intensity, but ultimately to create conditions which would make it possible to abolish capitalism itself.
The transformation of the superstructure, which takes place far more slowly than that of the substructure, has taken more than half a century to manifest Mechanical reproduction all areas of culture the change in the conditions of production.
Only today can it be indicated what form this has taken. Certain prognostic requirements should be met by these statements. However, theses about the art of the proletariat after its assumption of power or about the art of a classless society would have less bearing on these demands than theses about the developmental tendencies of art under present conditions of production.
Their dialectic is no less noticeable in the superstructure than in the economy. It would therefore be wrong to underestimate the value of such theses as a weapon. They brush aside a number of outmoded concepts, such as creativity and genius, eternal value and mystery — concepts whose uncontrolled and at present almost uncontrollable application would lead to a processing of data in the Fascist sense.
The concepts which are introduced into the theory of art in what follows differ from the more familiar terms in that they are completely useless for the purposes of Fascism. They are, on the other hand, useful for the formulation of revolutionary demands in the politics of art.
I In principle a work of art has always been reproducible. Man-made artifacts could always be imitated by men.
Replicas were made by pupils in practice of their craft, by masters for diffusing their works, and, finally, by third parties in the pursuit of gain. Mechanical reproduction of a work of art, however, represents something new. Historically, it advanced intermittently and in leaps at long intervals, but with accelerated intensity.
The Greeks knew only two procedures of technically reproducing works of art: Bronzes, terra cottas, and coins were the only art works which they could produce in quantity. All others were unique and could not be mechanically reproduced.
The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (, Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit), by Walter Benjamin, is an essay of cultural criticism which proposes that the aura of a work of art is devalued by mechanical reproduction. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (, Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit), by Walter Benjamin, is an essay of cultural criticism which proposes that the aura of a work of . The book The Art of Mechanical Reproduction: Technology and Aesthetics from Duchamp to the Digital, Tamara Trodd is published by University of Chicago Press.
With the woodcut graphic art became mechanically reproducible for the first time, long before script became reproducible by print. The enormous changes which printing, the mechanical reproduction of writing, has brought about in literature are a familiar story.
However, within the phenomenon which we are here examining from the perspective of world history, print is merely a special, though particularly important, case. During the Middle Ages engraving and etching were added to the woodcut; at the beginning of the nineteenth century lithography made its appearance.
With lithography the technique of reproduction reached an essentially new stage. This much more direct process was distinguished by the tracing of the design on a stone rather than its incision on a block of wood or its etching on a copperplate and permitted graphic art for the first time to put its products on the market, not only in large numbers as hitherto, but also in daily changing forms.
Lithography enabled graphic art to illustrate everyday life, and it began to keep pace with printing. But only a few decades after its invention, lithography was surpassed by photography.
For the first time in the process of pictorial reproduction, photography freed the hand of the most important artistic functions which henceforth devolved only upon the eye looking into a lens. Since the eye perceives more swiftly than the hand can draw, the process of pictorial reproduction was accelerated so enormously that it could keep pace with speech.
Just as lithography virtually implied the illustrated newspaper, so did photography foreshadow the sound film. The technical reproduction of sound was tackled at the end of the last century. These convergent endeavors made predictable a situation which Paul Valery pointed up in this sentence: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.
The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (, Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit), by Walter Benjamin, is an essay of cultural criticism which proposes that the aura of a work of art is devalued by mechanical reproduction.
The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (, Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit), by Walter Benjamin, is an essay of cultural criticism which proposes that the aura of a work of .
The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction Walter Benjamin () “Our ﬁne arts were developed, their types and uses were established, in times very different from the present, by men whose power of action upon things was insigniﬁcant in comparison with ours.
Oct 21, · 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, technologically effected transformation in the nature of art, and the political implications of that Status: Resolved.
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