Response – Walter Benjamin: the Work of Art in the Age of Reproduction
Benjamin discusses the loss of aura, leading to the politicization of art. And the loss of aura occurs with art that has the ability to be reproduced (he writes as film and photography proliferate as art forms, and he draws many comparisons between the aura present in a painting vs the aura lacking from a film or photograph).
What happens when aura is lost and the ability for reproduction arises, is a shift where the artistic image and product can be utilitarian, which he predicts will begin to lead the idea of “art for art’s sake” to lapse, and art can then be used as a tool.
Benjamin delves into what the accessibility of an art implies, and what it might mean as appropriation becomes common practice in art. I don’t think he asserts that there is necessarily a benefit or negative consequence, but he asserts that things will change. The ability to reproduce an image, or to have art as a tool, politically and for other purposes, has changed the world and how actions and responses occur.