Walter Benjamin’s, the Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Topics: 20th century, Modernism, Visual arts Pages: 3 (1056 words) Published: January 28, 2012
Fall 2011
Assignment #2
Walter Benjamin’s, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Walter Benjamin is an internationally renowned philosopher and a critical theorist from the early 20th century. He has written many diverse and intellectual pieces that were strongly influenced by the social, political and economic movement at the time. Benjamin’s thoughts and research is still fresh and recently obtained its due. The essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” is a major theoretical text for design and film theory. The essay looks at different perspectives and its affects during the dawn of the film and photography industry. He also compares the 20th century art and culture to the traditional era. I will further discuss Benjamin’s justification about the “shattering of tradition,” and how it is relevant today, as well as the definition of “aura” and its interpretation in the 21st century, and cast some light on the relevance I draw from the work and images I design. Benjamin speculates about the outcome of human understanding and perception about the materialistic aspects of the world in the 20th century and whether it has altered. He attempts to point out a significant change in the modern age; the withering effects of mechanical reproduction on art and culture, which triggers the film and photography movement. Benjamin further elaborates saying that the method of reproduction loses its authentication exclusivity to its original form, which leads to a “tremendous shattering of tradition”. To me these are causal reactions to the mechanical and the technical advancements that are bound to occur post 20th century. However, the term “shattering” has a negative connotation

associated, which devalues the benefits and advantages brought in by this new era. It is true that, we have changed our ways of perceiving beauty and nature, but it has also made us treasure and preserve the originals and our traditions, which we now pay at...
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