MECHANICAL REPRODUCTION

Walter Benjamin talks about how, with time and with increasing intensity, every work of art, regardless of it’s form and make, has been, is, and will be reproducible. When a man made product has to be reproduced, it is more possible to reproduce that with the same or varying form to serve the same function, but, when it comes to a work of art, the form and structure may vary, but, the artwork itself MUST be imitated precisely to perform it’s function. For example, to reproduce say, a hammer, all the craftsman would need is a a handle of a particular yet, varying length and a heavy, object, again of a particular, yet varying form, material, weight, tensile strength, and more. The fact being, that these objects can vary and hence, the form of the structure can too. However, a work of art would have to be reproduced with extreme intricacy, it’s only a matter of, how intricate? In today’s day and age, we can reproduce a work of art with more precision than we could have imagined five, ten, twenty or hundred years earlier. For me, the next step would be able to acquire texture by photography and print. the concept of 3D printers could possibly help us obtain that goal.

He also talks about how today, a work of art, in may of it’s genres, can be reproduced. In fact, in some of it’s genres like photography and phonograph records, it can be reproduced more precisely than any obtainable to a someone looking at the original artwork. He mentions how the lens has surpassed the capabilities of the eye and the recorder of the ear. This in many ways is true. However, when it comes to a work of art, it is subjective to the viewer what he thinks of it and what he can obtain from it. So while the the capabilities of the lens may have evolved to great levels, the eye has a special friend called the brain. The union of these forms the greatest function that a lens does never and may never be able to perform. This function being to enable the viewer observe and perceive what he wishes to. Every man is made and thinks differently. For example, when a given number of people are placed viewing a beautiful landscape which also in a way is art, one may choose to only look at the birds in the cerulean blue sky soaring , while, one may look at the mountains ranges meeting the cerulean blue lake and one might just sit there gazing at the whole picture. What this means is, each viewer derives something different from the work of art by perceiving different elements in differing ways. The functions in a camera will only show the viewer what could be captured in it’s physical form. He also talks about the aura around an object which again, cannot be captured. But then again, I believe the viewer forms the aura to something for himself. And this, though hard and subjective, is possible to do in certain reproductions of certain artworks.

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