The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Assignment Due 5/9: Choose a passage from "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," write out the passage; explain what it means and why you chose it.
An analysis of art in the age of mechanical reproduction must do justice to these relationships, for they lead us to an all-important insight: for the first time in world history, mechanical reproduction emancipates the work of art from its parasitical dependence on ritual. To an ever greater degree the work of art reproduced becomes the work of art designed for reproducibility. From a photographic negative, for example, one can make any number of prints; to ask for the “authentic” print makes no sense. But the instant the criterion of authenticity ceases to be applicable to artistic production, the total function of art is reversed. Instead of being based on ritual, it begins to be based on another practice – politics.
My interpretation of this passage is that Benjamin expressed the importance of art and its reproduction. In the same way, the essay and his intention were related with the era that the world was living at that time. It was the mechanical era, where the process of doing things was evolving. I think Benjamin was trying to include art in that process of evolution, expansion and productivity. In other words, the art was and is important enough and deserved to evolve as the rest of the world was doing. I chose this passage because I agree with it. I believe in equality and balance in all aspects and subjects of life. It is fair enough that if the world is evolving, all areas also evolve in equal manner.