Shock and Aura : Benjamin on Dada

  • If we take Benjamin's definitions to their logical conclusion, then the monad and the reproduced copy are set unequivocally into binary opposition, as we, the masses capable and most needful of action, are implicitly denied the potential for liberation through aesthetic experience. This denial could not have been his long-term intention. When we take into account the breadth of his writings in response to Fascism, and we look at the artistic movements, Dada in particular, that Benjamin defines as 'politicizing art,' it seems as though we risk too narrow a reading of Benjamin's theories by assuming the aura can be, or must be, done away with. Rather, I would argue that this moment of auratic interaction is crucial to effectively politicizing art at all. Mechanically-produced art, in order to function politically, must allow its audience the space necessary to step back, awaken their 'Geistesgegenwart', and take action 'before' the present moment is finished and past. The elimination of aura - as per Benjamin’s own definitions of aura - neuters the interaction this awakening requires. While Benjamin provides the framework and asks the right questions, when determining what will allow his definitions to realize their aims most fully, I submit that he draws his line in the wrong place.

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Author:Tamar Avishai
Parent Title (German):Benjamin-Studien
Publisher:Wilhelm Fink
Place of publication:Paderborn
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2017/06/22
Year of first Publication:2014
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2017/06/22
GND Keyword:Benjamin, Walter; Dadaismus
Page Number:32
First Page:107
Last Page:132
Dewey Decimal Classification:8 Literatur / 80 Literatur, Rhetorik, Literaturwissenschaft / 800 Literatur und Rhetorik
Sammlungen:CompaRe | Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft
CompaRe | Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft / Leibniz-Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, Berlin
BDSL-Klassifikation:01.00.00 Allgemeine deutsche Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft / BDSL-Klassifikation: 01.00.00 Allgemeine deutsche Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft > 01.08.00 Zu einzelnen Germanisten, Literaturtheoretikern und Essayisten
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht