Walter Benjamin, Aura

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Eng301 Criticism Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities. Walter Benjamin, in relation to the effects of Art and Literature on society, speaks more often of visual Art then of literature, while Benedict Anderson speaks mainly on the effects of the written word. First it must be agreed that both Art and Literature are social forms of expression, for what is a painting, film, sculpture or photo without an audience. Similarly what is an epic poem, short story, or a religious text without both a writer and a reader. These two forms of expression have been both a cause of historical processes, as well as a reaction to historical processes. For the sake of a somewhat narrow approach that discusses both Art and Literature, simultaneously, allow for the term Art to signify both the visual arts as well as literature. Throughout human history Art has played a major role in the formation of our communities and our nations. Benjamin and Anderson have distinct perspectives that link responsibility for our modern nations, as well as our potential future communities to the evolving actions of, and responses to Art. According to Walter Benjamin Art has forever been dependent upon technologies available to a community at the time. This is a fairly simple statement; A cave man could not photograph a wooly mammoth, develop the photo and frame it on his cave wall. He could however use clay, rock, and plant matter to carve and paint a rough image of one. We see, in this beginning stage of art, a direct limitation of art based on the primitive technologies of that time. It is also evident that technology is dependent upon the drive for Art. As the motivation for expression developed, man learned
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