This text speaks of the reproduction of art through the means of technology, namely, photography. ‘Technical reproduction had reached a standard that not only permitted it to reproduce all transmitted works of art and thus to cause the most profound change in their impact upon the public.’ I believe this is talking about how seeing a piece of art work in the flesh, the original, is an experience that is becoming rarer and thus more compelling. This is because the original is the one that holds all the personality or the ‘aura’ as the text says. All this personality and aura that is transmitted through authenticity is lost when a reproduction is made because then it just becomes a photograph of an amazing piece of work, rather than an amazing piece of art. ‘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 text talks about how photography has allowed reproductions of images to be seen anywhere. People no longer have the adventure getting to see the work of art, all they have to do is type its name into an internet search bar.

‘The nineteenth century dispute as to the artistic value of painting verses photography today seemed devious and confused. This does not diminish its importance, however; if anything, it underlines it.’ This to me says that although photography is reproducing art left right and centre, it does not mean that the originals are losing their appeal. Looking at the situation logically, reproduction can be seen as a form of publicity. Children in school can be taught about famous art works and they can strive to one day see them in real life and feel the aura they have.

The text goes on to compare the viewing of art and the viewing of film. ‘The distracted person, too, can form habits. More, the ability to master certain tasks in a state of distraction proves that their solution has become a matter of habit.’ What I draw from this is that it’s saying that to view and analyse a piece of art, the viewer has to concentrate to take in its entire meaning. However, when viewing a film we can subconsciously watch and use very little thought. ‘At the movies this position requires no attention. The public is an examiner but an absent minded one.’

Things like Facebook, Twitter, Flikr and so on prove that Walter Benjamin was right. Google images archives millions of images which can be seen by the click of a button. Very few people actually go out into the world to experience these things for themselves.

Advertisements