Aura Reconsidered. Benjamin and Contemporary Visual Culture
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The author argues that Benjamin's concepts concerning the auratic and postauratic art (as expressed in his essay about the artwork in the era of mechanical reproduction) cannot be uncritically applied to the contemporary, postmodern culture. The reality depcited by Benjamin in the 30s seems to be radically different from the one we experienced at the end of XX century. Postmodern culture, with its centrality of visual experiences and virtual gazes, with the multiple and heterogeneous forms of spectatorship and its positions, with the despatialized and detemporalized viewing subject has to be analyzed from a new perspective. He points out, that Benjamins thesis concerning aestheticization of politics and its connection to fascism lost the actuality in the post-fordist society and its cultural environment. Using the theories by Theodor Adorno, Patrice Petro and Miriam Hansen, and analyzing the project 'Wrapped Reichstag' by Christo, the author criticizes some points of Benjamin's thoughts. In the same time he tries to answer the question what can be redeemed of Benjamin (and Adorno) for our own times and how we can envision his role under the postmodern conditions.
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