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The Work Of Art During The Age Of Its Technological Reproducibility By Walter Benjamin

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In Walter Benjamin’s essay on “The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility,” he examines the multiple concepts of tradition art and applies them to newer inventions of technology such as the camera and film. In the introduction to his essay, Benjamin clearly states that politics is an overriding concern, specifically fascism and how “the concepts which are introduced into the theory of art differ from those now current in that they are completely useless for the purpose of fascism. On the other hand, they are useful for the formulation of revolutionary demands in the politics of art” (252). This quote clearly demonstrates Benjamin’s goal of the essay, which is to relate the old and new concepts of traditional art to politics and he argues this will provoke revolutionary demands in the politics of art. Therefore, when Benjamin turns to focus on aura, reproducibility, exhibitionability, and distraction, it does not weaken or undermine what the introduction claims because these concepts are being used to explain politics. Benjamin relates the traditional aesthetic values of art to fascist ideologies, which provoke revolutionary demands in the politics of art. However, there are points within the essay that do undermine his political goal, which is seen through lofty metaphors, his own agenda and his command of language.
According to Benjamin, the concept of aura is the ambience of severed beauty and power supporting cultic societies. Therefore, traditional art, specifically paintings, create an illusion of reality that is momentous because it mirrors our gaze because it has the concept of aura and follows the same timeline of the viewer. Since it returns our gaze that is why we mistake it for reality and believe...

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... always is going back to the same one person like a painting. This is an attempt to create an aura by making a film that shows one man that contains creative genius, originality and uniqueness. Therefore the mass gets one political, fascist meaning and the film manipulates the mass that is dependent on those ideas of the unique leader and originality. In addition, by emphasizing one political leader, fascist film retains some of its cult value over exhibition. Since the film is not built on the focus of entertainment, there can be no room for distraction. Moreover, time within these fascism films is never ending and elevates production that depends on these traditional concepts of art. The traditional concepts of art are experienced through contemplation through distance, but this has shifted to distraction through entertainment as a loss of space and time to think.
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