While exploring google maps, I decided to show an image on Kukulaua Ave. in Honolulu, Hawaii. I chose this image because I have been to this exact spot and thought it was interesting seeing the street view on a computer. Here in this image, we see what seems to be a typical day in paradise. Although there is a lot of beauty to this image, one cannot fully expirience the “aura” of this place by just viewing an image of it from the internet. The “aura” that is talked about in Walter Benjamin’s article, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (6) is essentially the mood that is created by a piece. In this image, we see a beautiful blue sky, dozens of palm trees, and Waikiki beach. By only viewing the image, one misses out on the real sights, sounds, and smells of beautiful Hawaii. The aura that is created is warm and relaxing. By going to this place, I have experienced the warmth of the sun, the gentle breeze from the ocean, the feeling of the sand as you walk on the beach. All of these aspects are truly what affect the overall aura of this place. Benjamin says that the aura of an artistic piece cannot be found in a captured image. The images are what make the viewer feel distant. This is something I agree with. Although the image appears to be beautiful, The feeling of being in that actual place in much different.
Here’s the picture and here is the permalink to the picture if you want to see a larger image.
Larger Image Here
This post will center focus on Walter Benjamin’s idea of the aura with relation to the image attached to this post. Benjamin’s idea of the aura is “the unique phenomenon of a distance, however close it may be” (4). He further goes on to say that this aura decays as it progresses. This is what I am aiming to represent in my image. Looking at it from left to right or top to bottom, one can see on the left the green tree with life; however, as it moves towards the right, this decay of death is seen through the tree on the left. This tree looks rather dead. This is also depicted in the image from top to bottom. The blue symbolizes life and moving down it gets cloudier until the plants are shown rather dead as well. The idea that auras degenerate over time is stated by Benjamin as well by stating that the masses remove the uniqueness of an item by having it constantly reproduced (4). This means that as more and more of the same reproductions come into availability, the item loses it’s value. I once read a book called The Cave by Jose Saramago who was a potter. He usually sells his items to a mall which would then sell his wares to buyers; however, this one day, his work is refused due to the reason that the bowls he makes out of ceramic have no more value or use because of the new plastic bowls that can be made and bought for cheaper for more profit.
Posted in Student Blogs
Tagged #Walter Benjamin, Art, Aura, Benjamin, Death, Decay, dtcv, Google, Google Street View, Images, Stuff, Tradition, Walter