Notes on Benjamin

More Notes on Walter Benjamin. This time from Art in the Age of Mechanical Reporduction.

– growth of technique
–> creates adaptability, precision, ideas, habits

– ancient craft of the Beautiful

capitalistic mode of production
– exploit the proletariat
– but ult. create conditions to abolish capitalism itself

superstructure – substructure

the art of a classless society

outmoded concepts: creativity & genius, eternal value, mystery

What are the new concepts that are “completely useless for the purpose of Fascism”

politics of art

Worth mentioning the inherent irony (dead) of posting essay/images on the Internet


graphic art first reproduced in the Middle Ages

lithography – started in 19th C.
photography – surpassed it only a few decades later
Does film trump still photography since it can keep up w/ the speed of sound (talkies)?

Are visual images merely signs b/c they can appear & disappear like running water (plumbing) or electricity, gas?

Do “true” photographers create 30 prints & then delete the “negatives”?

The concept of AUTHENTICITY

A manual reproduction = forgery
Not so w/ tech. reproduction

* IDEA: recrop other photographs to make them “better”/ more contemp.

substantive duration
the authority of the object
“the technique” of reproduction
detaches the reproduced
object from the domain of tradition”

What is tradition?

Film = a liquidation?

When art changes, our mode of perception changes.

By bringing things closer, instead of going to them, aura is decayed

“sense of the universal equality of things”

– art is supposed to be above other things
– what about the artist who paints any old thing, is the artist allowed to have the sense of universal equality, but not the “consumer”?

-uniqueness of a work of art inseparable from it
– alive & changeable

Art as ritual/ritual function

ritual = location of its original use value

Art as politics

cult value vs. exhibition value

Art as something made not merely to be seen?


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