Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Reading 1 : Walter Benjamin

Reading 1 : 
"The Work of Art in the Mechanical Age of Reproduction"


Have this read and your questions posted to blog
by next Tuesday before class! There will be audio
and visuals (PowerPoint, video) to help our discussion
that I will bring.

You only need two critical response questions.

Example of sets of questions with 
this particular reading-

[Example Set 1]

1. In Section III, Walter Benjamin discusses our desire for reproduced art. Is our desire to "get hold of an object" and bring it closer "spatially and humanly"  symptomatic of our modern society or is it inherent in us as human beings? Would ancient artistic cultures have collected on the same scale as modern people if they had had the means?

2. Benjamin states "The greater the decrease in the social significance of an art form, the sharper the distinction between criticism and enjoyment by the public." Does his thesis hold true today with art produced for the masses? What are some examples?

[Example Set 2]

1. Silent film actors had lost their voice for the sake of the new film technology. It was like they were just showcasing the new technology and not being artists. However, looking back on silent films we now see them as art. How is something that once "lacked" art transformed into art?

2. In the piece by Walter Benjamin, it is stated that "While facing the camera he knows that ultimately he will face the public... During the shooting he has as little contact with it as any article made in a factory. This may contribute to that oppression, that new anxiety which according to Pirandello "grips the actor before the camera." What is the difference between the "new anxiety" that a film actor experiences as opposed to 
anxiety felt by all other types of artists and performers?

1 comment:

  1. 1. In section II of the reading, the author writes of reproduction being the cause for the decay of the power and importance of the original. I have seen great critics of many art mediums show images of Rothko paintings, (photos and reproductions) in an educational setting to give example of the work, only to later say that no reproduction could capture the subtleties, or the brilliance of the originals. The originals still hold this mysterious power, but the reproductions serve as an example to those who haven't been fortunate enough to travel to the gallery where the originals remain. Is this decay? or a Teaser? Furthermore, the originals, no matter how well kept, are literally and physically decaying in real time...How can reproduction or photography be cause for decay, when they are the only things preserving them in real time? The only things exposing the world to truly historical masterpieces?

    2. In section VIII of the reading, the author compares and contrasts film with stage performed plays. There is mention of the lack of interaction with an audience in a film, whereas, in a play, the actors can freely interact with the audience to make them feel like a part of the production. Film is spoken of negatively in this context. Without the audience left to interpret the performance, but simply being along for the ride...is that not a more pure form of the artist's expression?