Media- the Importance of Originality

     Although media has continued to progress throughout the last few centuries, one of the biggest contributors to understanding and controlling the use and production of media comes from Walter Benjamin, who saw both the positive effects and possible negative outcomes of this progression- dating all the way back to the early 1900’s.

     In his essay, “The Work of Art in the age of Mechanical Reproduction”, Benjamin examined the benefits and downsides to the various ways media was progressing in that time. In his time era, many technological advances were being made- such as stamping, woodcuts, lithography, and eventually film and photography made an appearance too. Benjamin saw these advances as a gate to opportunity and progress, but he was able to take note of how forms of media changed when they were copied. His big idea was heavily based on “aura”; the idea that the time, place, and history of a work divorced art from its ritual value (OER 2.0).

     The reason Benjamin’s work is so important is because his ideas and views of media continue to influence our day to day world. Being able to recognize and understand the value of originality in a world where imitations and copies of media are always being used by various people, it can be hard to set a true and meaningful value on any piece of work (digital or not). Although a “network aura” exists- a new type of aura that re-enhances media through amplification of attention to replicated images- there is a major loss of originality and sentimental value to people’s work. Therefore, it becomes so much more significantly important to be use our own original ideas and methods to create art, and all other types of media, regardless of what their message might be.


     Below is an image of Picasso’s original work compared to a copied version of his original work- which do you think is better and why? It almost seems like because there are so many copies of one original form of art, it makes the original that much more valuable, because of Benjamin’s concepts of aura, along with the network aura that exists.

Painted Art Reproductions vs. Giclee Prints | Which is better?

02. February 2020 by Julia
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