September 7 Readings - Benjamin


I feel that I lack the philosophical/intellectual/academic background to give some sort of comprehensive digestion of Benjamin's essay. Here is a rough outline, basically working notes, which will hopefully illustrate my understanding of it.

A few points of reaction:

Placing this essay in the context of modern technology, how the process of reproduction has changed since 1936, is an interesting exercise (particularly for composers such as myself). If we think about 'studio audio art,' for example, it only exists as a reproduction. The sound that comprises the piece of art is only accessible through a recording, as interpreted by at least minimal equipment (speakers, CD player, etc…). It seems to be an original work as well as a reproduction. Does it lose some kind of aura each time it's realized/replayed? Perhaps a more accurate term than mechanical reproduction in this instance would be cloning?

Has the act of reproduction become a ritual for us, so that we don't think in terms of original or copy, but rather see as art the entire circumstance/environment/morphology [gestalt] of the reproduction? My mind jumps to Small as I say that.

How would Benjamin respond/react to Warhol, in either painting or film?

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