Benjamin describes the ‘aura’ of a work of art as its uniqueness, its authenticity. Moreover, he describes the ‘aura’ as the “unique phenomenon of distance”. The unique distance to an objects physical location, its history, its life and afterlife. We experience the ‘aura’ of something that is not in our immediate reach, both physically and conceptually. According to Benjamin, the increasing significance of the masses in contemporary life, and the desire of the masses to bring things closer created a demand for mechanical reproduction. Benjamin does not say we should go back to the ‘auratic’ age, he is amazed by the opportunities that mediums as photography and film can bring to art, both of these fields are reproducible by nature.
It is interesting to think what he would say today. The desire of the masses to bring things closer created an enormous network that connects our minds – the Internet. Everything is extremely close now, the ‘unique phenomenon of distance’ had been almost vanished. Its the age of digital reproduction, much cheaper and much faster then what possibly Benjamin’s had imagined.
Sometimes it seems like everything we do is reproducing. We constantly reproduce ideas. We read a blog post, watch a video or listen to music and in a split second we share them, replicating the ideas digitally, spreading them as far as we can in our facebook account, twitter, blogs, or whatever. Every blog post that we publish and every “Share!” gets copied by multiple computers and later – on demand, to the reader’s computer. Special websites were created for this specific purpose only, like so.cl. There, you search for a topic and get blog posts about that topic. One of the most dominant features of this website is to let you compile the search results into your own blog post. Pure reproduction.
I wonder what is the reason behind this social behavior. It is clear that we aspire to share as much information as possible because by doing so each one can build on the work of others, and the humanity can develop faster. But can it be dangerous? Don’t you feel sometimes that it strange that we all think too much alike? Same ideas for mobile apps, global taste in music. Maybe being so connected, by means of digital reproduction, can damage us in the future?
What do you think?