Walter Benjamin - Art in the Age of Mechanical reproduction
In principle a work of art has always been reproducible. Mechanical reproduction of a work of art is something new.
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.
The premise of the original is the prerequisite to the concept of authenticity
Authenticity is outside of technical reproducibility.
The situations into which the product of mechanical reproduction can be bought may not touch the actual work of art, yet the quality of its presence is always deprecated.
That which withers in the age of mechanical reproduction is the aura of the work of art.
The technique of reproduction detaches the reproduced object from the domain of tradition.
We define the aura of the latter as a unique phenomenon of a distance, however close it may be.
The desire of the masses to bring things 'closer' spatially and humanly , which is just as ardent as their bent toward overcoming the uniqueness of every reality by accepting its reproduction.
Art original Aura derives from the magic, art was seen to be magic in the medieval times.
v||| Actor > Audience Actor > Camera > Audience
When talking about film he says that ' the aura is tied to his presence; there can be no replica for it' The aura on stage that emanates from Macbeeth, cannot be separated for the spectators from that of the actor. 'Luigi Pirandello in 'Signification du Cinema' highlights the problem in Theatre.
Any thorough study proves that there is indeed no greater contrast than that of the stage play to a work of art that is completely subject to, or like the film, founded in Mechanical reproduction.
The sight of immediate reality has become an orchid in the land of technology.
Magician + surgeon compare to the painter + cameraman.
The painter makes work with a natural distance from reality while the cameraman penetrates deeply into its web.
For audiences the film is more significant the the painting because it constructs a reality where the technology becomes invisible.
Reception is a state of distraction. The public is an examiner, but an absent minded one. qoutes Marinetti futurist manifesto as war being beautiful because it exercises mans power of technology. The destructiveness of war furnishes proof that society has not been mature enough to incorporate technology as its organ, that technology has not been sufficiently developed to cope with the elemental forces of society. Mankind in Homer's time was an object of contemplation for the olympian goose, now is one for itself. Its self - alienation has recreated such a degree that it can experience its own destruction as aesthetic pleasure.