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The Work of Art in The Age of Mechanical Reproduction

In The Work of Art in The Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Walter Benjamin talks about shifts in perception in art through time and it’s consequences.

“During long periods of history, 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, is determined not only by nature but by historical circumstances as well”

As we progress, Walter Benjamin discusses about the loss of an aura through the mechanical reproduction of art that represented the originality of the work in question, especially in film and photography.

“Let us compare the screen on which a film unfolds with the canvas of a painting. The painting invites the spectator to contemplation; before it the spectator can abandon himself to his associations. Before the movie frame he cannot do so. No sooner has his eye grasped a scene than it is already changed. It cannot be arrested….The spectator’s process of association in the view of these images is indeed interrupted by their constant, sudden change. This constitutes the shock effect of the film, which, like all shocks, should be cushioned by heightened presence of mind. By means of its technical structure, the film has taken the physical shock effect out of the wrappers in which Dadaism had, as it were, kept it inside the moral shock effect” (Benjamin, 238).

As for me, I feel that it is part of the inevitable evolution of art.

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