Phrase: "The Social significance of film..."

"The social significance of film, even- and especially - in its most positive form, is inconceivable without its destructive, cathartic side: the liquidation of the value of tradition in the cultural heritage" (254).

In the essay, "The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility" Benjamin examines the dual nature of film in light of it positive and negative affects on humans' production and enjoyment of art. The above quote captures the essence of part of one of Benjamin's central points; that film has many benefits, but it removes us from the here and now moment of art. Rather, technological reproduction takes art out of its authentic place in the world. However, this can be good because it allows many forms of art to be enjoyed more freely and at our convenience. Take for example the Mp3 player. The Mp3 player allows one to carry around thousands of pieces of artwork in the pocket. An Mp3 player can hold pictures, perhaps paintings if one so desires, songs, operas, symphonies, and even movies. However, by doing this, we lose an important part of the authenticity of art. Humans are aware of this and technological reproductions will never fully take the place of the real thing. Why else do we continue buying concert tickets to experience the music as it is played live, in the moment, or go to the theater to see plays when we could just as easily stay home and watch a film? Do not dishearten, the place for live art remains even in the day of technological reproductions.

- Henry McDonald

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