week 03

Photoshop Tool Panel and Workspace Cheat Sheets:
Click on image to view enlargement

Lecture: The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction/The Culture of the Copy:
See: http://j-bel.net/sva/week03/terms_OrigCopy.html

Review of Last Weeks’ Material: Image size, File size, Compression, Layer Masks
Finish Week02WorkFiles

Open Workshop: Finish your Concept Word Collages, iterations 1 and 2.

Photoshop Intermediate: Blending Modes, Masking, Manipulating and Recreating imagery in Photoshop. Gamma and Color adjustments with adjustment layers, Retouching
About Blending Modes:http://j-bel.net/sva/week03/Week03Notes/wk3Notes.html

Practice: see Week03WorkFiles

Homework wk03:

A. Collect a number of pictures (from magazines [to be scanned], the internet [please search the extra large image category], stock photos, or posters) of celebrities in different poses, the more we can see of the person and the higher the resolution of the image the better. Your “celebrity” can be an artist, actor, writer, politician, game designer, athlete, etc…

B.Take a photo of yourself (new for this project) in an activity (such as playing cards, basketball or running) and if you have access to a computer this week “Photoshop in” the celebrity. This first version will be a draft. Next week in class we will have an open workshop to work on these. The final version should be realistic and look as if you are really interacting with the celebrity.

Readings: “Computer Art” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_art and “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (Wiki Description is all that is required however there is a link to the actual essay if you would like to read!) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Work_of_Art_in_the_Age_of_Mechanical_Reproduction

Before class (next meeting date), in 50 words or less, comment on these readings on our class blog in Week Three.

Celebrity Composite Student Examples:





19 Responses to week 03

  1. Andrea Mariano says:

    I don’t believe mechanically reproduced art completely shatters the “aura” that Benjamin refers to. It is still completely possible to feel awe or reverence which comes from not the rarity of it, but more importantly the unique artistic vision that has inspired it. Each reproduction or adaptation of it is a brand new vision. In reference to computer at, the implementation of technology as a creative tool has exponentially increased the possibilities of revolutionary expression. It allows the combination of media that wouldn’t otherwise exist, pushing peoples’ expectations and preserving the idea of the “aura.”

  2. Mary-Margaret Callahan says:

    It seems as thought the first link to Computer Art and “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” no longer exists. I did read Benjamin’s full article however and found it really interesting to look at his ideas written in the 1930’s as Facism was taking over Germany and then apply them to the world today. Benjamin discussed the loss of aura due to the mass production of artwork, film, and the written word due to newspapers seemingly anticipating the further decline of aura 70 years later. Benjamin wrote back then of the common man becoming writer through letters to the editor and becoming a actor through acting as an extra in the films of the day; today we have taken this a step further with the common man writing blogs on the computer and appearing on reality TV. I think that it’s possible that the definition of aura may be undergoing a change from Benjamin’s to a definition where the aura of a is now coming from “within” each person as each person assigns to the piece of artwork it’s worth to them.

  3. tuyen says:

    In Walter Benjamin’s essay, he theorizes that our perception, the production and the distribution of art cannot be unaffected by the our advances in technology and knowledge. We can all agree that our opinion on what art is and how it is produced has changed over time. Present-day art isn’t confined to being one particular oil painting or sculpture. Art is also a photograph, a banner ad, a logo on a t-shirt, a website– all which can be viewed and attained by many.

  4. Karina Vogt says:

    On the article “the work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction”, I found the notion of origination as authenticity in the form of auras very interesting. When art
    is no longer original it loses its aura. Then is the “aura” the soul of the art as given
    by the artist?

  5. Alexandra says:

    Without a doubt, the advent of reproducible art made it possible for the “little people” to enjoy and appreciate works like never before, but I disagree with Benjamin’s idea of the “aura.” When I look at art in a museum, I evaluate it on the basis of aesthetics and the presumed level of work that went into a certain piece. I don’t think about the line of ownership, restricted exhibition, etc.

  6. Emilie Harkin says:

    The words ‘mechanical reproduction’ immediately made me think of art used in marketing — and the power of simple, memorable images. From the slick lines of the Nike swoosh to the cheerful outline of Mickey Mouse ears, the very purpose of commercial art is mass consumption, and deliberately, it is stripped of its aura so it can be universally shared.

  7. Ryan says:

    I have some undeveloped ideas in regards to the “Aura” hypothesis. It is undeniable that society and “culture” dictate our own personal preferences and experiences to a large extent,
    -“external attributes such as its known line of ownership, its restricted exhibition, its publicized authenticity, or its cultural value”
    and therefore can effect ones view and experience when interacting and viewing art work, however, I do believe it is different for an artist and for someone not intimately involved in artistic medium.
    An example from my experience would be that a piece of artwork that inspires my own creation is the most enjoyable.
    Furthermore, the word “Aura” implies (for me) that there is a positive effect from experiencing/viewing the art work, this is not always so, and the “jealously” factor or critical eye is sometimes the most important.

  8. Yu says:

    Reading the articles, made me think about the flexibility of the computer art.
    It can be transported and mass produced at almost zero cost, and can be fitted to any computer screens, or projected in a massive scale.
    I wonder how this affects the “aura” or the originality of the art works because the artist has no control of how the art works will be displayed once it is shared among the mass through the digital media.
    An art work could be displayed in a way that artist might not have intended to.
    Art work is made through many thought process, and decisions an artist makes (including the scale and colors, and maybe even the brightness of computer screens etc.) during the creative process.

    However, once it is made into a specific physical material (such as printing on paper), I think this idea changes, because it is no longer digital, and exact perfect copies can no longer be made. This would allow the artists to have more control over their art works.

  9. jamie says:

    From printmaking to graphic design, reproductions have always had the stigma of being “lesser” art. I personally disagree – and am grateful that reproductions have allowed me to view art that would otherwise be unavailable to me. The more available the art, the more complete the critique.

  10. Yuko says:

    Benjamin’s essay, which I confess I only had the chance to skim, points to the transforming meanings we ascribe to art as it is commodified. If “aura” was what characterized what was created for ritual purposes, that quality was subsequently lost with the transformation of that object into a work of art — for example an altarpiece then exhibited in a Museum. It reminded me of an excellent work by anthropologist Sidney Mintz, SWEETNESS AND POWER, which traces the transformation of sugar from an exclusive emblem of bourgeoisie into a product of mass consumption during the Industrial Revolution.
    Like photographs, digital work is commodified and moreover can rarely pick its audience. But I think it would be mistaken for us to assume that it is thus available to all — video artists for example could mass produce DVDs of their work but deliberately produce, say, 4 copies for purchase by exclusive collectors and galleries. While this is not a religious “aura,” I think some artists and their brokers still try to create an air of exclusivity. Other digital work is accessible to an unspecified and much larger audience, for instance on the web, and I guess the artist must accept that upon making her work public she is allowing it to be reappropriated, reproduced, and recirculated beyond her control.

  11. Margaret says:

    In response to how Benjamin describes “aura” compared to his critics. I find that both take an extreme position on the issue. Much of the aura around traditional art was associated with social position, value, and authenticity of piece there is no denying that. The latter position states that mass consumption of art will cause a loss of imagination and originality. Art created for mass consumption can have an equal awe inspiring effect. Both forms of art use different modalities to evoke feeling, create discussion, and shape culture. It is a reflection of today rather than an appreciation of yesterday.

  12. Laura Trimble says:

    The loss of “aura” as Benjamin suggests is possibly more lost today, as in the digital age we exchange and view art at the click of a button. In fact, digital art does not necessarily exist in the material world. Have we created a new “aura” in the mystique of the virtual world?

  13. Larry says:

    I find Benjamin’s use of the word “aura” slightly disturbing. Moreover, his emphasis on authenticity and originality is troubling. I get the impression that he was more irritated by the fact that the “artist” was changing, as was the basis for what he felt made a work special, i.e. spiritual significance or tradition. The notion that mechanical reproduction can somehow remove the “aura” of, using his example, a mountain range on the horizon is clearly misguided. The advent of film and print, in my opinion, only helped cater to a wider audience. I am certain that Walter Benjamin, dead for nearly 70 years, would find the present day transition to digital production so vexing his next essay would be entitled “Die Adobe!”

  14. caroleicher says:

    Benjamin’s essay examines the political ramifications of mass production of art and media, the ultimate extremes of which are fascism (aestheticizing politics) and revolution (politicizing art). “Conventional” art is more enjoyable to the masses, and “unconscious optics” created by quick film cuts lead to distraction – which can be used as a form of covert control.

    He notes that the development of the printing press meant that more readers could become writers, foreshadowing the age of blogs and social media as a means of self-expression and social change.

    The “aura” of the original, one-of-a-kind work of art can be a class concern, meaningful to those who have access to original paintings, theater performances, first edition books, etc.

    Having accepted reproducible media such as films, recordings, prints and photographs, modern society now has a new degree of separation from “original” works. Music, film or art prepared digitally can be copied identically, varying only by how the equipment they are viewed or played back on. Nearly obsolete mechanical media (photographic film, vinyl recordings, out-of-print books) may experience an increase in “aura”, similar to a one-of-a-kind work of art in their effect on the viewer/listener.

  15. Lawrence Jung says:

    I do agree with Benjamin point of view that this “aura” that is within unique works of art does contain more than what the eye can see. On piece of art work does have this deep cultural background in it that makes it different. A replica can not copy the period the original piece have lived through. It will release a different type of an “aura”. The other argument for the politics of art is that art is not a politic at all but a separate language, an international language. I disagree that mass consumption will wither the aura. I believe that this will actually spark more reflection and imagination since everyone has a different point of view. No two people see a piece of art work the same way. Each has their own perception of what the art represents to them and to others.

  16. Nicole says:

    It seems that everyone’s previous comments have been a complete rejection toward Benjamin’s pessimistic view of the disintegration of the “aura” in the modern art world. Perhaps it is my love for authenticity or appreciation of the artist’ brushwork, but I somewhat agree with the author. Standing before an original artwork necessitates an entirely different emotional, aesthetic and intellectual reaction than viewing the work online or in a textbook. For example, I had seen many Pollock paintings reproduced in infinitely smaller sizes in textbooks and on computer screens, but it was not until I saw a unique, 105 in x 207 in, drip painting that I felt entirely engrossed within the masterpiece – which is the undeniable intention of most abstract expressionists. I would be shocked if I were the only one to pleasurable admit their unquestionable difference in reactions between an original and a reproduction. This difference is how I define Bejamin’s “aura”. Since modern technology has made is incredibly easy to view works or art instantly, people do not feel as strong a need to travel to museums or galleries, and thus, less and less people are fully experiencing the artworks as intended by the artist. To put my point in cliche terms: ‘They don’t know what they’re missing!’

  17. Ann Briody says:

    I think the word “Aura” is subjective, it depends on the viewer or the makers taste, that is why each piece of art is unique. When the artist is true to himself, that Aura is expressed displaying the artist’s passion. Hopefully the viewer will be struck by said passion. This “Aura” represents what the artist is going through, and thus a bond and a personal connection is formed between the viewer and the artwork. That to me is the true meaning of “aura,” I don’t think it has something to do with cultural value, its known line of originality, etc. I think all forms of art invokes a feeling in a person, I think some paintings, sculptures, structures, pictures and movies have aura, and some don’t.

    I think the “work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction” has both it’s advantages and disadvantages. For people who have limited finances, or can’t afford to travel, art is easily accessible via other mediums, offering a larger audience, greater exposure, garnering more appreciation for the art itself. But people should be aware of what kind of artwork they should look for and what they should study. I believe that developing your taste and understanding art is very important, and you need to feed your mind by going to museums, reading and learning about the history of art. Art is all about ones perspective. There is no right or wrong. As long as you know what you like, and you can distinguish good art from the bad – then you truly can appreciate all forms whether you are viewing it from the Louvre, from The Metropolitan Museum, from art books or from your web browser.

  18. Daniel Kimball says:

    If I am interpreting the article correctly, this “aura” or reverence for an original piece that occurs among viewers due to its unreproducible nature being lost in digital art is quite correct. However, I believe there continues to exist to a certain “aura” when observing copies of a print as well. When I stand in front of a painting or sculpture which I know to be worked on by a famous artist, I do get a feeling of awe. This feeling however, is also experienced when I look at the copy of the original as well. Good design is good design no matter what form it takes.

  19. Greetings Ms. Gannis (and classmates!).A bit late chiming in here and too long a response, I know. Upon first reading the piece I attempted to read the entire text and found myself becoming more and more frustrated with the author as I inferred that he was conveying this overarching expertise across multiple artistic mediums – as I’m a performer I have to confess bias against his perspective of film – works by Hiroshi Teshigahara and Wong Kar Wai came to mind as resonating in memory and affecting me still to this day. That said, in revisiting a summary of the text, I was reminded of the effect an original Pollock piece had on me about three years ago – my first one. Strange to explain, but I literally felt as if my brain on an animal or mechanical level was attempting to catalog the piece separate from my consciously experiencing the work.

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