The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction combats traditional art criticism’s treatment of artworks as fixed, unchanging mystical objects. For Walter Benjamin, the consequences of addressing a work of art in this manner have a wider resonance: closed off from any active visual or tactile engagement, the work of art becomes an object of passive contemplation and a potential tool of oppression.
Benjamin argues that technology has fundamentally altered the way art is experienced. Potentially open to interpretation and accessible to many, art in the age of mechanical reproduction has the potential to be mobilized for radical purposes. While ostensibly addressing the artistic consequences of technical reproducibility on art, Benjamin also addresses the wider political consequences of this shift.
Ways into the text
Who was Walter Benjamin?
What does The Work Of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction say?
Why does The Work Of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction matter?
Section 1: Influences
Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context
Module 2: Academic Context
Module 3: The Problem
Module 4: The Author's Contribution
Section 2: Ideas
Module 5: Main Ideas
Module 6: Secondary Ideas
Module 7: Achievement
Module 8: Place in the Author's Work
Section 3: Impact
Module 9: The First Responses
Module 10: The Evolving Debate
Module 11: Impact and Influence Today
Module 12: Where Next?
Glossary of Terms
People Mentioned in the Text
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