Ok, folks! At first I should say that this text made me think about Fascism, technology, alienated aesthetic, and notions on authenticity.
Despite being written in 1936, the text is astonishingly modern. To contextualize the reader into the early 1930′s, Benjamin goes back to Marxism, explains the infant conditions of Capitalism as a system that would in the future turn against itself – mostly by abusing the proletariat. The upcoming results would finally be self abolishment. He finishes taking on to Fascism, aesthetic of self destruction and war generating war, as aesthetic work of art at an alienated society.
From our 2012′s point of view, we clearly identify the tear on the capital economy based on waste, rough profit and alienation. But it seams that (besides the self destruction inherent to the system itself), much of that tear comes from our technological empowerment on ways of sharing information, from people organizing information and being able to communicate across the world instantly. Do you think that we got to a point in History when politic power lost its “aura”?
Further reading led me to realize that the terms “art” and “work of art” could nowadays easily be transposed to “science”, “technology”, and that the rituals that would perpetrate the aura of art (or science, or technology) now are accessible to common people. “Login in”, “connecting”, are everyday rituals to the cult of virtual existence. Those are reachable by open source sharing as well as by capitalist products and patents. Would it be alienation or integration? What happens in a society where everyone is a writer, a film maker, a programmer? When the distinction between author and public is hard to classify/identify: it is because they are multiple, are they both in one?
Nevertheless, Benjamin arguments that there would be a shift in the understanding Arts from a Fascist mystique of only the “geniuses” made Art to common knlowledg, once people had the technical and precise means to produce Art. But, I believe that at some point the alienation and Fascism only changed in form. What do you think?