Analysis Of Walter Benjamin's 'The Work Of Art In The Age Of Mechanical Reproduction'

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Walter Benjamin’s work on the concept of ‘aura’ has clarified and elucidated why art and other media are perceived the way they are. Benjamin’s ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ provides an in depth insight as to the transformation of art in this new modern world. Benjamin’s concept of aura explains why the new age of technological mass reproduction has had such an effect on contemporary and classic art. He argues that with easily accessible methods of replication, the artwork simply loses its uniqueness and individuality. When investigating how aura would be applied to the modern method of sharing images through a site such as Twitter, an interesting conversation emerges. Twitter is a 21st century social networking site used by millions in which users share ideas, images, news, etc. with one another. The way in which Twitter users sabotage aura through the utilization of images and content is in alignment with the way Walter Benjamin felt about reproductions. Walter Benjamin, a German Jew who lived during the early 20th century, often combined elements of Marxism, German idealism, Jewish theory, and aesthetic principles into his work. One of his most famous essays, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, focused on discernment of art with the introduction of technological methods of rapidly reproducing it. Benjamin used the idea of ‘aura’ to center his arguments around. Aura, as defined by Benjamin is ‘"A strange tissue of space and time: the unique apparition of a distance, however near it may be (Benjamin 23)” The somewhat cryptic description of this term exhibits its quite enigmatic meaning. Aura, in simple terms, is the way in which something is perceived in relation to its environment and its character. A social networking site that exemplifies the evolution of aura is Twitter. Twitter is a 21st century website and app that allows users to handle content in any way they desire. Users can simply read others’ content, share their own, comment their ideas, or just merely read and absorb. The unique aspect about Twitter is its ‘retweet’ function. To retweet someone is to simply share their post on one’s own profile. The purpose is to share the original post with

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