Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

In this essay Benjamin gives his view points on how the art has been changed due to the up grading technology and how it is affecting art e.g (Photography and Film specifically ruining the art ) and also our perception of what is art. He argues in his essay that how the mechanical reproduction of art has changed its aura. He believes that due to the vast technology any work of art can be reproduced (and for him art is something which cant be reproduced, its original and has authenticity) and hence any work of art reproduced, has no value. According to him a painting is a piece of art while a photograph/ film isn’t because it can been reproduced as a result of mechanical reproduction. I would not agree here with his point of view because we live in an era where any piece of art can be reproduced infinite times and if we consider his theory than art wont exist in this world. In our todays world where we have now 5D and we call it a whole new world where you can almost experience anything thats happening in the film and we call it cinematic experience. He also further argues that the art which in galleries or are on display are made for profit and its a part of capitalism but if we look at the history every artist was commissioned by the state or church and this was its only mode of earning bread.


This is the poster of the most famous film of 2012 The Avengers released in 3D, grossed $1.51 billion worldwide. The movie is so popular amongst kids as well as adults, combining all the action heroes together the marvel comics did and excellent job and entertained the masses around the world. It is surely a piece of art because its original and the action figures being depicted in the film are fictional and they dont even exist. On this note i would say that films dont lack any aura, they have originality in its own way and have a cinematic charm which attracts the viewer like any art piece.

Similarly he says that actors dont have any aura too and they always mimic or fake things. now on this note i would like to present the legendary actory Mr Heath Ledger who gave up on his life because he was so into the character of the famous Joker from the film The Dark Knight.

Joker Cards Heath Ledger

 Never in the history of this universe such strong character was played by any actor, his acting was so tremendous that even he was the agnostic in the film, yet he is remembered more than the protagonist Batman ( against the famous actor Christian Bale). He also got an oscar for this role and i believe this is were the hard work paid off. This is called the aura of the actor how he takes a certain character for the film so seriously that he is remembered for that role even after his death.

So if i sum up my blog i would say that every writer or critic has its own point of view and it is not necessary for the audience/ readers to agree with them. Benjamins may be right according to his era of filming, when the industry was about to bloom and most of the films were propaganda films (not to forget that such films are even made today) but we cant totally agree with him in todays world, where is art is made to entertain the masses and yes off course to make business.

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