Walter Bendix Schonflies Benjamin And The Age Of Mechanical Reproduction

1003 Words Oct 6th, 2014 5 Pages
Walter Bendix Schonflies Benjamin was born into a wealthy Jewish family in Germany. He was a German philosopher who is associated with the Frankfurt School and his areas of interests were literary theory, language, aesthetics, and technology. Benjamin was influences by and is associated with the work of Karl Marx, Theodor Adorno, and Bertolt Brecht. Moreover, one of Benjamin’s most influential writing is titled, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1936).
The primary argument made by Benjamin in The Work of Art essay is the decay of an “aura” (authenticity) of art through reproduction. Specifically, Benjamin argues against art in the form of film and photography in order to preserve traditional aesthetic values, such as creativity and genius. While Benjamin acknowledges that man made artifacts can always be imitated by men, what he specifically critiques is the politics of art, which is the mass production for profitable gain through mechanical reproduction. It is within this reproduction that the aura is lost. At the center of art object is its authenticity…“the authenticity of a thing is the essence of all that is transmissible fro its beginning, ranging from its substantive duration to its testimony to the history which it has experiences” (p. 37). Benjamin further explains:
The mode of human sense perception changes with humanity’s entire mode of existence. The manner in which human sense perception is organized, the medium in which it is accomplished,…

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