Cafe Discussion Post 2

Group Members: Harrison Feldman, Kiki Geremia, Monica Manning

Walter Benjamin’s, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” highlights the social change that art has undergone under the Era of Mechanical Reproduction. Benjamin argues that before mechanical reproduction art was valued differently since it would not be viewed or experienced through other forms of reference, (such as a picture, or video). Because of this, he argues that art is now created under the government and political status quo, and that the are pacifying the masses.

During world war two, art was used to characterize the japanese as evil and ugly. Likewise, Germans were doing this to Jewish people as well. Through film and art, the masses of people were no longer valuing art for what it was, but rather for the political and social structures that exist behind such art. These types of propaganda push people to create discursive representations of certain populations. In addition, the art that was being created, and produced into propaganda was reproducible and a way for hegemonic ideas to be formed across a certain culture about another culture.

Today, Benjamin would probably argue that with the internet, although we may be more exposed to false representations of art, we can also gain legitimate knowledge about the kinds of art we are viewing. It is easy to look up several different interpretations of all kinds of art, whether it be pictures, or film and the government has less control over what kind of art we can lay our eyes on and what we chose to expose ourselves to.

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