Walter Benjamin

In this reading, Walter Benjamin discusses the changes that art has had in the social aspects of our culture. He begins by saying works of art have been copied for centuries. Benjamin describes this as a mechanical reproduction, which includes various art forms such a as lithography, woodcutting, photography and film.

However, as these innovations became so prevalent, Benjamin argued that the ability to mass produce different works of art lead to the imperfection of these replications. In other words, the “Aura” and uniqueness were lost along the way. To him, there is a distinct difference between a painting and film. Although both are considered art forms, the latter is much more transcendent.

Benjamin uses the example of a mountainous landscape, where the shadows represent the aura of the mountains. Someone could take a picture, but it would not capture the same essence. He uses this point to highlight the concept of human sense perception and describe the changes that have occurred, from relying on ritual and authenticity to create a cult value to the shift towards exhibition value. He uses film as an example to discuss the spectator aspect of modern art. The value and distribution of works of arts have gone from private to public, allowing more people to see art, but also distorting what it truly means and the reasoning behind an artistic decision or idea.

The podcast gave an interesting perspective on the concept of time. It is unusual in the sense that the same amount of time can seem shorter or longer depending on what you are doing. In other terms, time is relative. Recent innovator Cesar Kuriyama has created an app called “One Second Everyday” This new form of digital art allows the user to record one second of everyday, eventually creating a unique collage-like movie.

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