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By Walter Benjamin

Benjamin’s well-known “Work of Art” essay units out his boldest thoughts—on media and on tradition in general—in their such a lot discovered shape, whereas preserving an part that will get below the surface of each person who reads it. during this essay the visible arts of the desktop age morph into literature and conception after which again back to photographs, gestures, and notion.

This essay, even if, is just the start of an unlimited number of writings that the editors have assembled to illustrate what used to be progressive approximately Benjamin’s explorations on media. lengthy sooner than Marshall McLuhan, Benjamin observed that the best way a bullet rips into its sufferer is strictly the best way a film or pop music inns within the soul.

This publication includes the second one, and so much bold, of the 4 models of the “Work of Art” essay—the one who addresses the utopian advancements of the fashionable media. the gathering tracks Benjamin’s observations at the media as they're published in essays at the construction and reception of artwork; on movie, radio, and images; and at the glossy changes of literature and painting. The quantity comprises a few of Benjamin’s best-known paintings along attention-grabbing, little-known essays—some showing for the 1st time in English. within the context of his passionate engagement with questions of aesthetics, the scope of Benjamin’s media conception should be totally favored.

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Extra info for The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility, and Other Writings on Media

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462463, Convolute N3,1. 14. , p. 463. 15. , p. 530, Convolute Qla,8. 16. , p. 845, Convolute H{\16. The true is what he can; the false is what he wants. -MADAME DE DURAS! 2 Marx adopted an approach which gave his investigations prognostic value. Going back to the basic conditions of capitalist production, he presented them in a way which showed what could be expected of capitalism in the future. What could be expected, it emerged, was not only an increasingly harsh exploitation of the proletariat but, ultimately, the creation of conditions which would make it possible for capitalism to abolish itself.

Since the historical testimony is founded on the physical duration, the former, too, is jeopardized by reproduction, in which the physical duration plays no part. And what is really jeopardized when the historical testimony is affected is the authority of the object, the weight it derives from tradition. One might focus these aspects of the artwork in the concept of the aura, and go on to say: what withers in the age of the technological reproducibility of the work of art is the latter's aura. This process is symptomatic; its significance extends far beyond the realm of art.

XIV The shooting of a film, especially a sound film, offers a hitherto unimaginable spectacle. It presents a process in which it is impossible to assign to the spectator a single viewpoint which would exclude from his or her field of vision the equipment not directly involved in the action being filmed-the camera, the lighting units, the technical crew, and so forth (unless the alignment of the spectator's pupil coincided with that of THE WORK OF ART: SECOND VERSION 35 the camera). This circumstance, more than any other, makes any resemblance between a scene in a film studio and one onstage superficial and irrelevant.

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