The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

By Walter Benjamin

Humboldt County Public Library; Eureka branch

302.23 Benjamin

 

 

 

“…But The amazing growth of our techniques, the adaptability and precision they have attained, the ideas and habits they are creating, make it certainty that profound changes are impending in the ancient craft of the beautiful. …”

 

…Photography…

…it could keep pace with speech.

…its presence in time and space,…

The presence of the original is the prerequisite to the concept of authenticity.

 

… substitutes a plurality of copies for a unique existence.

 

…reactivates the object reproduced.

 

…contemporary crisis and renewal…

…contemporary mass movements. Their most powerful agent is the film.

 

…human sense perception…

…humanities entire mode of existence.

 

…is determined not only…

…but by historical circumstances as well.

 

…social transformations expressed by the changes of perception…

…historical objects…

…natural ones.

 

…the contemporary decay of the aura.

 

…the desire of contemporary masses to bring things “closer”…

…the urge grows stronger to get hold of an object at very close range by way of its likeness, its reproduction.

 

…uniqueness…

…is inseparable from…

…tradition.

 

…ritual function.

…art sensed,…

…art reacted…

Instead of being based on ritual, it begins to be based on another practice-politics.

 

…and acquire a hidden political significance.

 

…an increasing number of readers became writers…

Thus, the distinction between author and public is about to loose its basic character.