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Presentation

on Benjamin Binaries! Mechanical Repreduction New theory of art Revolutionary Reproducible at any time Questions authority Renewal of mankind far-reaching liquidation Significance of masses Exhibition value Political Simultaneous and Collective Experience Communism VERSES The Work of Art Old theories of art Eternal value, mystery Dependent on historical production Creates authority Tradition Cultural heritage Importance of aura Cult value Ritual Hierarchical Mediation o The patron, the painter, the museum, the viewer or the church, the priest, the people Capitalism/Fascism Difference between the work of art and mechanically reproduced art Ideas of permeable binary Mechanical Reproduction has benefits over the work of art because: Film can capture things unseen or missed by the gaze The original occurrence can become mobile Film Jeopardizes the very notion of authority because it does not rely on historical testimony for its value

Just because our relationship to a work of art chances, from magical to ritual/religious, and even to the cult of beauty, does not diminish the aura of that work Art for arts sake might de-politicize art, it at least breaks art away from its parasitical dependence on ritual. Traditionally, the cult value of art had little to do with the ability to exhibit it to the masses, but mechanically reproduced art makes it available to everyone Cave Paintings Photography inherently contains the capacity to be political because it records historical occurrences. A comparison of wealth and poverty in Eugene Atgets photographs of Paris The distance between the film actor and the audience gives the audience the ability to become critics instead of accepting the values of the cult. Benjamin uses an analogy of the surgeon and medicine man being similar to the cameraman and the artist. If we think of the body as reality, the medicine man faces the body, bit the surgeon penetrates the body thus the cameraman penetrates the web of reality Film actually alters the way in which people react to art. People can enjoy and understand the social satire of a Chaplin film even though they might not be able to understand a Picasso painting. Film and Psychoanalysis Film combines science with art in a way that makes it revolutionary Film allows us to perceive things that we would not normally see or recognize. This is similar to the way in which psychoanalysis allows us to understand the unconscious. Criticism of Film Because each scene is followed by more action, the film does not allow for the contemplation we can do with traditional art work Film just distracts people and does not allow critical examination Benjamin counters this by comparing film to architecture Even when we are not concentrating, through habitual use, we appropriate the dimensions of architecture In this way, people can gain a critical understanding of film even when they are distracted

A Caveat: Film produced as a commodity will remain a commodity Fascism was using art to promote war, bit Benjamin ends with the hope that communism can react through the politicized art of film.