Reconsidering the Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction

By Courtney Marchese and Peggy Bloomer.

Published by The International Journal of New Media, Technology and the Arts

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In 1936, Walter Benjamin discussed whether or not film and photography could be considered art in his essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” He pondered whether the means of production negated the value of these works in new media, while he acknowledged that these new forms reflected a profound change in society, man and human perception. The discussion continues today about digital reproduction and art. According to Lev Manovich, the “computer-generated image is not an inferior representation of our reality, but a realistic representation of a different reality“ (1995). The camera, the computer, and the video are merely the apparatus used to create the media (Flusser 2000) and the continuing relationship of man to the tool informs artistic expression. All great shifts in the human story are reflected in art. Some may lament the loss of the aura in the work of art. However, it is the perception; the ability to see differently, that defines the essence of a work of art. While digital art may have no monetary value today (Nassar nd) and appear without merit, history has proven that only time and the resulting perspective is the real test of what is art.

Keywords: Definitions of Art, Digital Reproduction

The International Journal of New Media, Technology and the Arts, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp.27-32. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 620.614KB).

Prof. Courtney Marchese

Assistant Professor, Interactive Digital Design, Quinnipiac University, Orange, CT, USA

I am a graphic and interactive designer, and educator. I am primarily interested in typography and gestural interfaces, and how they can be used to positively effect social issues and society. Throughout my education and career, I have had opportunity to work with students and educators from around the world. Currently, I hold a tenure-track position at Quinnipiac University and am on AIGA Connecticut Board of Directors.

Peggy Bloomer

Adjunct Professor, Interactive Digital Design, Quinnipiac University, Clinton, CT, USA

I just defended my dissertation this August at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Wallis, Switzerland earning a PhD in Media and Communications. The topic is “Epic Mythology in Digital Narratives.” One of the things that I have tried to do in earning this PhD is to combine my earlier concentration in Medieval Literature with my current practice and teaching of digital design. I currently teach interactive digital design as an adjunct at Quinnipiac University, Web Design and Rich Media at Herzing University, Web Design II in Multimedia Studies at Manchester Community College and World Literature online at Southern New Hampshire University.