Technology and the Postmodern
Authenticity and Aura
To Benjamin the authenticity of the art object allows for its value, which is codified by its use in ritual. This is extended from primitive religious ritual to the secular cult of beauty, or art. Authenticity is based on the unique, singular character of the object as an independent object. The independence is represented by aura, or that which has been eliminated by the act of mechanical reproduction:
Apparently for the first time in history the object of ritual - art, seems to have appropriated a sense of self-consciousness beyond apprenticeship and homage:
Benjamin goes on to denounce art for art's sake as an errant reaction to mechanical reproduction, a 'negative theology,' that 'denied any social function of art...'
Copyright © 26 February 2000 Jeff Talman, Saratoga Springs, NY, USA