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The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility, and Other Writings on Media (Werke und Nachlaß. Kritische Gesamtausgabe #16)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  10,140 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews

Benjamin’s famous 'Work of Art' essay sets out his boldest thoughts--on media and on culture in general--in their most realized form, while retaining an edge that gets under the skin of everyone who reads it. In this essay the visual arts of the machine age morph into literature and theory and then back again to images, gestures, and thought.

This essay, however, is only

Paperback, 374 pages
Published June 3rd 2008 by Belknap Press (first published 1936)
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This is a new collection of essays with improved translations and a special focus on the media. The famous essay on Art and Technological Reproducibility (Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit) comes first, but the rest of the essays are thematically grouped - Script and Image, Painting, Music, Film, Photography, the Publishing Industry, and Radio. He talks about Charlie Chaplin and Chinese painting.

Benjamin's thought is difficult for me to analyze, not just from its
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Resist the urge to dismiss this essay because of the epilogue. In fact, you can skip that section. I admit, it's one of those where you're like, "Wait a tick, how'd we get here exactly?"

Here's a few ideas that I rather liked: (note, this is a fairly dense 26 page PDF, so my notes will be necessarily oversimplified and oriented towards my own interests)

According to Walter Benjamin, the work of art has an “aura” which is largely dependent on the historico-technological context. The earliest art, t
Dec 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Not that I expect anyone to actually read a college essay I wrote five years ago, but I present here my full thoughts upon Walter Benjamin's wonderful essay "The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility". I wrote it for one of my favorite classes (Aesthetics) and I have fond memories of trying to divine the real effects of copy machines and cameras on an art world that existed for centuries without such reproducibility.

Ambivalence In the Age of Art’s Technological Reproducibil
Nicolas Baygert
Classique serré, arguments percutants et intuition implacable. Benjamin y enterre tout simplement l’art au sens noble.

Dissocié de son aura cultuelle, l'art perd son autonomie originelle, désormais livrée au règne du contretype. Ainsi, Benjamin retrace dans cet essai la volonté des masses de « rendre les choses spatialement et humainement « plus proches » de soi. […] un désir tout aussi passionné que leur tendance à déposséder tout phénomène de son unicité au moyen d’une réception de sa reproduc
'Izzat Radzi
Beberapa tahun dahulu, semasa melawat Fairy Pools di Isle of Skye setelah mendaki gunung di Black Cullin, saya terkesima dengan apa yang saya lihat lalu secara langsung berkongsi dengan seorang kawan yang juga guru, Hafidzi akan pemerhatian saya. Bukan pencemaran sampah, bukan kemusnahan alam, jauh lagilah air teh tarik seperti sungai-sungai di Gua Musang akibat pembalakan yang saya maksudkan.

“Kenapa gambar-gambar yang kita tengok lain benar rupanya? Nah, depan mata kita, airnya biru setara ini
David Blumenkrantz
Dec 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
With the benefit of much hindsight, the essay still seems prophetic. Mechanical reproduction "changes the reaction of the masses toward art," and "emancipates the work of art from its parasitical dependence on ritual." Benjamin's essay outlines the social, political, and psychological implications of this "emancipation." The lost aura is replaced with a social significance, which Benjamin argues is "inconceivable without its destructive, cathartic aspect that is the liquidation of the traditiona ...more
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: saggi, usa, arte
Ha senso riprodurre l'arte?

Questo saggio, molto breve e famoso ma molto "denso", scritto dal filosofo Walter Benjamin nel 1935 tratta l'impatto della riproducibilità "tecnica" sull'opera d'arte, argomento né facile né immediato.

I quadri e le sculture sono sempre stati riprodotti manualmente e le opere musicali altro non sono che una continua ripetizione/riproduzione dell'opera stessa. Benjamin però no, non ci parla di questo tipo di riproduzione; l'oggetto del saggio è la riproduzione "tecnica"
Apr 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This maybe the best introduction to Walter Benjamin's work. His essay on "Reproducibility" is the classic text that every media or art student has to read - and rightfully so. He's was (or is on the page) a remarkable thinker and writer. Essential figure in the art of the essay. This is a very handsome edition of some of his greatest works. Do read and study hard!
- l'opera d'arte nell'epoca della sua riproducibilità tecnica
- piccola storia della fotografia
- eduard fuchs, il collezionista e lo storico
- che cos'è il teatro epico?
- commenti ad alcune liriche di brecht
Howard Dinin
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Irreplaceable as a fundamental text in an understanding of the transformation of the role of art, and the current understanding of the nature of the work of art, if not of how we stumble toward a sense of what is art and what is not.
Leez Matías
Nov 29, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, 2017
Benjamin is fascinating. A brilliant writer. A brilliant mind. Simultaneously appreciating the aura of an original objet d'art while praising mechanical reproduction for its ability to democratize art and break it out of the confines of the elite. Noting that as we read, we also begin to demand to write our own stories. I think he would delight in the internet age.
"Nell'espressione fuggevole di un volto umano, dalle prime fotografie, emana per l'ultima volta l'aura. E' questo che ne costituisce la malinconica e incomparabile bellezza." (p. 28)
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Вся Франкфуртская школа вышла из этого эссе, бесконечно важно для понимания массовой культуры и практически любого искусства второй половины двадцатого века.
Jan 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Di importanza che passa e muta.
Sep 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"L'opera d'arte nell'epoca della sua riproducibilità tecnica" nell'epoca dei gruppi di discussione

Un quadro non è fatto per la sua riproduzione in tante copie. Ma un film sì, quindi per un film non ha più senso parlare di originale.

"Sta nascendo un modo di fare arte che non prevede originali ma soltanto infinite copie. Non ha più senso parlare di copie e originali".

Questa è la prima, fondamentale intuizione. Attualissima. Pensate a quanta arte oggi è fatta in modo tale da essere immediatamente d
Jul 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Lo que puede es lo verdadero, lo que quiere es lo falso", declara el epígrafe inicial de este ensayo escrito por Walter Benjamin durante el auge del fascismo alemán, en un intento por anticipar lo que será el arte tras el triunfo "inevitable" del comunismo en Europa.

Mal adivino pero brillante teórico, Benjamin cimenta sus reflexiones en la idea de que el arte, gracias a los métodos de reproducción mecánica, ha comenzado un proceso de eliminación de su aura ancestral: el arte "aurático" muta a u
Zhifei Ge
Apr 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art
Notes of the book:
1. Process reproduction is more independent of the original than manual reproduction.
  2. Technical reproduction can put the copy of the original into situations which would be out of reach for the original itself.
  3. (This is very debatable:)The manner in which human sense perception is organized, the medium in which is is accomplished, is determined not only by nature but by historical circumstances as well.
  4. (another assumption worth debating) The uniquenes
Jan 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-nonfiction
Neblogas pavyzdys, kaip filosofai nusileidę iš būties, čia-būties ir esaties padangių į socialinę realybę, gali pasakyti kažką įdomaus ne tik tiems, kurie priklauso jų "grynosios minties" klubui. Sugretindamas visuomenės demokratizacijos, socializmo įdėjų plitimo ir "mechaninės meno kūrinio reprodukcijos" (t.y. fotografijos ir kino) įsigalėjimo procesus W. Benjaminas teoretizuoja meno statuso kaitą: nuo ritualinės ir religinės meno kūrinio reikšmės pereinama prie ekspozicinės ir politinės. Pasak ...more
The title essay has had such a landmark effect on media studies-- it's too bad how false it has largely turned out to be. Much in the same way that the high culture of Benjamin's day preserved the ethos of industrial capitalism, so does the era of technological reproducibility. Maybe Marx was right, and maybe "culture" is largely a superstructure that is dependent on the economic conditions. Either way, Google Image Search sure as shit ain't liberating us.

Oh well! Benjamin remains an immensely w
Jun 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
In "The World of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility," second version, Walter Benjamin argues that in this "new stage in the technology of reproduction," (20) that the "unique existence in a particular place" is lacking in reproduction — authenticity eludes technological reproduction (21). Reproduction detaches an object from tradition and from its aura, or its "strange tissue of space and time: the unique apparition of a distance, however near it may be" (23). Technological repr ...more
Koen Verbrugge
Dec 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: society
Essay over het impact van reproductie op kunst - Ook wel de verschuiving van kunst als ritueel tot kunst voor impact.

In dit boek leiden fotografie en film een nieuw hoofdstuk van 'reproductie' in (1935). Dat leidt tot groter bereik en engagement, maar tegelijkertijd leidt het evenzeer tot een verschuiving in de maatschappij, één die ons wegleidt van authenticiteit. Tot het punt waarop we kiezen voor fascisme omdat het 'impactvol' voor ons spreekt, niet omdat het voor ons werkt.

Een interessant
๖ۣۜSαᴙαh ๖ۣۜMᴄĄłłiƨʈeʀ
I'm very tired and wired on coffee, and so I'm not even 100% sure if I should be leaving a review (but if I don't do it now, I don't see myself ever doing it). This book was well argued and well translated, but I find myself disagreeing with his overall thesis. I don't agree that technological reproduction takes away from the authenticity of a work, because it's still art. In any case, I'm glad I read this book, because Benjamin's arguments have given me much food for thought, and I am certain t ...more
pierlapo  quimby
Nella nota che chiude la raccolta di questi brevi saggi, Paolo Pullega scrive che "in effetti gli scritti brechtiani di Benjamin sollevano continuamente l'impressione di una maggiore grandezza del commentatore rispetto al suo autore".
Ecco, io ho avuto esattamente l'impressione che Benjamin parli oltre, oserei dire che parla proprio d'altro, come quando incontri un amico all'uscita dal cinema e gli chiedi: beh com'era il film? e lui ti risponde: l'immanenza dell'opera sia consustanziale all'arte.
May 25, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: for-thesis
Obviously, the best, most mindblowing essay is "Work of Art," but I like how fragmented and imperfectly formed some of the other essays are. Like the one about Parisian architecture and the panorama - some provocative thoughts are placed in there, but not perfectly proven. This is very much how I write...all of the time. Makes me feel a little closer to being a legit literary theorist, of which I am not.
May 07, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: saggio
Opera notissima e citatissima, è pubblicata assieme ad altri brevi saggi sulla storia della fotografia, su un collezionista d'arte e su Bertolt Brecht.
Ha più di uno spunto acuto e interessante, ma in generale è molto datata e ancorata all'epoca storica in cui è scritta. Proprio questo però è un ulteriore motivo di interesse: l'arte negli anni '30 del '900 era in ebollizione la fotografia e il cinema, ancor molto giovani, mostravano esplosivamente che il linguaggio artistico stava cambiando.
Gretchen Geser
May 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art
I haven't read Benjamin's essay in years, but I've wondered since I read it whether I agreed that mechanical reproduction diminishes art. Forget the problem of capitalism, I'm grateful for reproduction. And the issue becomes even more interesting in our age of digital reproduction and digital art-making. I gave it 5 stars because of its historical value and because it's such an interesting text.
Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea
Fascinating read. Some essays were definitely "high theory" and some essays had allusions that I've never heard of. But, all the essays offered some provocative glimpse into media, art, and production. Some of the pieces got me really considering my own thought and production processes for video creating and writing. Really great stuff. I started reading and couldn't put it down.
Tony Poerio
Jun 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read lots of Benjamin in college. His work comes up repeatedly in theoretical classes about art, writing, creativity, literature. The title essay is one of the best I've ever read, and it's part of what initially got me interested in technology... now I write software instead of essays and fiction.
Scott Smith
Oh I forgot about this...well I've been done for a while. Translated (parts) of it for my German translation class. Which I got an A in. So I guess it all worked out ok. As for the book, yeah it's interesting. If I'm gonna study film theory at all it'll be a good one to have under my belt.
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a good book.. 2 19 Aug 04, 2012 03:20PM  
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  • Cinema 2: The Time-Image
  • Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism
  • Image-Music-Text
  • The Spectacle of the Scaffold
  • The Emancipated Spectator
  • The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture
  • After the End of Art: Contemporary Art and the Pale of History
  • The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths
  • The Society of the Spectacle
  • Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive
  • Eros and Civilization: A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud
  • Das Ornament Der Masse: Essays: Weimar Essays
  • The Medium is the Massage
  • Critique of Everyday Life
  • Writing and Difference
  • The Photograph as Contemporary Art (World of Art)
  • The Dialectics of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project
Walter Bendix Schönflies Benjamin was a German-Jewish Marxist literary critic, essayist, translator, and philosopher. He was at times associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory and was also greatly inspired by the Marxism of Bertolt Brecht and Jewish mysticism as presented by Gershom Scholem.

As a sociological and cultural critic, Benjamin combined ideas drawn from historical materiali
More about Walter Benjamin...

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“Painting, by its nature, cannot provide an object of simultaneous collective reception... as film is able to do today... And while efforts have been made to present paintings to the masses in galleries and salons, this mode of reception gives the masses no means of organizing and regulating their response. Thus, the same public which reacts progressively to a slapstick comedy inevitably displays a backward attitude toward Surrealism.” 3 likes
“No início do século XX, a reprodução técnica tinha atingido um nível tal que começara a tornar objeto seu, não só a totalidade das obras de arte provenientes de épocas anteriores, e a submeter os seus efeitos às modificações mais profundas, como também a conquistar o seu próprio lugar entre os procedimentos artísticos.” 0 likes
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