Archive for January, 2009

Week 3 – “Industrial Age, Kinetic Art and Robotics” by Derek Spitters

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

The industrial age marks a period of rapid technological advances that continues to this day. The primary goal of this revolution is to make life easier for our society. We mechanize procedures in our factories in order to make a standardized, consistent product for less money. So far, robots have not begun to demand wages. We build supercomputers to do number crunching for us, and we even use robots to do surgery. All of these advancements have reduced the amount of work we have to do. In some ways this can be a bad thing. Robots displace many jobs, and this trend will only continue as technology keeps advancing.

These constant technological developments have pervaded almost all aspects of our society and culture, so it is only natural that this progress be applied to artwork. Many artists have created interactive or kinetic art using the most cutting edge technology of the time. One example of this is the installation Particles of Interest by the *particle group*. (http://www.pitmm.net) This work of art featured a series of sensors that detect nano particles present on visitors. These sensors are placed in columns that contain speakers and provide audio feedback about the type of nano particles detected on each person who passes by. Each column was programmed to detect certain types of nano particles. This installation, which was featured at the North/South Mixer, used technology to create a unique experience for the viewer with the goal of encouraging a dialogue about the pervasiveness of nanotechnology.

Many other artists use robotics in their artwork as well. For example, in The Blanket Project, Nicholas Stedman created a robot shaped like a blanket. (http://nickstedman.banff.org/blanket.html) Wave-like pulses are created by the robot and are controlled either by computer or manually. A person can interact with the blanket by lying on the bed and allowing the blanket to flow over them.

blanket
In many ways, our society seems to have become obsessed with the idea of robots. Although the practical uses of many robots have made our existence much easier, our real fascination is with those robots that resemble humans. There are two basic aspects of these robots that attract us: the degree to which they look like a human and the degree to which they think like a human. In both areas advancements in technology have allowed us to make increasingly realistic humanoid robots. Our preoccupation with robots can be seen by the fact that every year a big blockbuster will feature robots. Some examples of these films are The Matrix, The Terminator, Alien, Star Wars, I, Robot, Transformers, Wall-E, Robocop, 2001, A Space Odyssey, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Stepford Wives, and Bicentennial Man. One reason that we seem to be increasingly engrossed by robots is that technology plays such a large role in our everyday lives. Not long ago a computer was a rare thing to own, but now people often buy a computer for every member of their family. Our cell phones now have GPS and our cars now have computers and cameras. Thanks to satellites we can access the internet wirelessly from anywhere in the world. Our generation has witnessed the rapid growth of computer technology. Movies that depict robots are an expression of our desire to see what could be possible in the near future after further developments.

wk 3—–by Shiyang Zheng

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

 

Will robotic technology replace human intelligence?  Very Possible!  such as movie series ‘Terminator’

terminator1001

talking about the fight between the robot and the human!

wall-e-eve-1640

And a recent movie ‘Wall-E fallows a story of a robot named WALL-E who is designed to clean up a polluted Earth far in the future. He eventually falls in love with another robot named EVE, and follows her into outer space on an adventure.

final-fantasy-versus-xiii-famitsu-jan-clipping-02

Also the movie of one of the most famous video game, ‘Final Fantasy’.


The robotic technology has became part of life and culture for both adults and children, available for all ages. At the same time, with improving technology of film, video, photography and internet, movie, animation and video game have been widely reproduced and released at cheap price. The idea of robotic technology is also propagated. Though the scene in these movie is still imaginative, it’s achievable in the future technology.


And so far we have:

We now have invented robot who can play violin

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzjkBwZtxp4

cube solving robot

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkft2qaKv_o

female alking robot

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbFFs4DHWys

I think it’s not difficult to predict we will have robot entertaining and working for us! And maybe, robot will have romance, love, emotion, and even creativity like all human being.


In the reading:

Beside the robotic technology above, the digital technology is also widely used in politics. During the presidential election in 2008, Obama utilized youtube and other internet tools to propagate his ideas and himself. Just after the presidential inauguration on Tuesday, Obama immediately released his rescue package to the current unemployment problem and financial, and foreign policy to the Asia especially China. These policies can be easily found on both domestic and international websites. The technology has accelerated the transportation of information among people. And here is where I agree the thesis of ‘The work of art in the age of digital reproduction’. The video, photography and print reproduction technology have made art and information available for everyone without losing the originality. Internet, on the other hand, makes all these sources available immediately online; both width and speed of information prorogation are significantly improved!

I like the idea of the author that ‘everyone talks to everyone is the moment when the inner self is liberated rather than chained’. Through the internet, mobile, and other digital technology such as ipods, we are now more informed and well-known of the change and movement of the society, what my friends is doing, what are people thinking about the war in Israel, and so on! As author of the thesis said ’separated from each other by space and time, people find themselves able to say what often cannot be said to face to face.’ Indeed, the technology has brought us closer and even together!

Gradually, the digital technology has changed our culture, life style, behavior by becoming part of our 21st century culture. The culture that everything would be reproduced and re-distributed everywhere, and eventually globalized. In the reading, the author Douglas Davis thinks the reproduction would lose the aura, and thus the originality of the moment when we see, hear, read, repeat, revise; However, the globalization does not necessary mean the collectivization of originality. Firstly, it’s true that there is difference if we watch movie in theater but at home; and it’s also true that a person might not as much infected in movie theater as at home. The aura is different, however, the motif and technique of the movie does not changed at all. Because the place to watch a movie does not play any role in forging the plot of the movie. It would not affect people’s understanding and analysis. Secondly, the originality would be approved only when people think it is original. Everyone has different way of thinking, different scope and different background. For the same movie, the originality of the movie means differently from individual to individual. The originality does not depend only on the production of movie itself, but also the audience who is watching it.

All in all, I believe technology changed our way of living, and thus the culture, and then the creativity of any art. Each change is dependable on the previous change!

Week2: North/South Mixer by Ryan Andre Magsino

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Seeing as I am late in posting this anyways, I thought it would be nice to post a photoblog with soem commentary for a change. Enjoy!

 

A snapshot of the festivities running amok during the mixer

A snapshot of the festivities running amok during the mixer

TA John Carpenter getting interactive with media art, literally.

TA John Carpenter getting interactive with media art, literally.

 

The towers remind me of the monoliths from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Such power, such intrigue.

The towers remind me of the monoliths from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Such power, such intrigue.

 

A peek inside the art piece's mainframe.

A peek inside the art piece's mainframe. Random thought: Could the universe secretly be part of a mainframe?

The exhibit made me wonder: Could the future of advertising rely on sensors to get their word across like these monoliths?

The exhibit made me wonder: Could the future of advertising rely on sensors to get their word across like these monoliths?

Once engineer, now artist develops a "power glove" per say with some aesthetically pleasing features.

Once engineer, now artist develops a "power glove" per say with some aesthetically pleasing features.

week3_robotics,etc._ Originals vs. Reproduction by Devin Quinlan

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

In our modern age, technology has advanced to the point where art can be mass produced, not even by the original artist, but transcribed from the original medium to one (such as a scan or photograph) that can be printed out by a computer and viewed by anyone with internet access. As a result of these developments, people like Walter Benjamin have begun (or already had been) expressing what they believe to be lost in reproduction.

I had always been a bit biased on this subject. Ever since I was young, my mom, being an art teacher,  had been authority on art in my mind. She would always complain when her students would copy other works of art, telling me that there was no creative expression involved. She would always try to get me to draw things myself instead of copying or tracing things I had already seen. I came to believe that copying was bad, and that there was no merit to reproduction. I agreed with Benjamin that there were things about an original piece of artwork that can never be attained. With an original piece of art I would imagine the actual artist working over the canvas, painting and painting over the mistakes until the image was what he or she desired. It is sort of the same feeling that I get when I walk down bruin walk and think about Will Ferrell walking along the same path when he filmed Old School. It’s a way to feel that much closer to the artist.

After thinking of examples of things that exemplified this idea, however, I came upon a memory from a few years ago at an art museum that alters my view of this subject. It was after a long day at the museum and we were just about to leave, when we encountered a vending machine for original art. The machine works just like any other vending machine - you basically put in $3 and out pops a small piece of authentic artwork from some unknown artist. After thinking about the little artworks that we got that day, I realized that I would have honestly rather spent my three dollars on a small poster replication of a famous work of art. I feel that looking at something with a true message or meaning that was created with true inspiration is much better than original art, even if it’s a reproduction. While it’d be great to have an original Picasso masterpiece, I’d much rather have a copy than an original artwork that didn’t speak to me.

The truth is, there really isn’t anything wrong with reproduction. People like reproductions because they are of quality artwork, and there is really no way to make everything authentic without leaving people disappointed and unable to draw inspiration from great art. In fact, some art is meant to be reproduced, such as the logo. A logo for a large corporation is something that says a lot about a company. The artist actually puts a lot more thought into it’s creation that you would think, as everything needs to be just right, from the font and placement to the subliminal messages that come from the arrangement of lines and colors. The medium for the logo’s creation is almost always a computer, so there really is no “original” copy of the work, at least not one that I would get the feeling of being closer to the artist through. These artworks are created exclusively for being reproduced, and in fact the art’s success comes from being reproduced everywhere until anyone could reproduce it themselves.

In the end, there is no sure answer to the question of whether or not a reproduction is as good as an original. An original gives you extra aspects of the work and creates almost a bond that you can feel with the artist who created it, while the ability to reproduce works with accuracy in great numbers allows great art to get to the masses. Once again, it’d be great to have an original Picasso, but for now I’ll just have to settle for a reproduction.

-Devin Quinlan

http://www.logoworks.com/retail-logos2.html

Nike logo

Nike logo

McDonalds logo

McDonalds logo

Week 3_Reanimation, Knowledge, and Pridefulness by Tiffany Russell

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Mary Shelley’s famous Frankenstein: The modern prometheus one of the early works on the dangers of human ambition, and, by inference, the American Industrial Revolution.  Victor Frankenstein, the scientist, is depicted as the stereotypica, obsessive genius who attempts to recreate the greatest known creation, life.  His feverish work in the name of progress symbolizes the American plight to industrialize, the grave robbing for parts revealing the not-so-widely-accepted actions taken in science.  Ironically enough, he favored himself an artist, a Creator.  Prometheus is the name of a titan in Greek mythology sometimes credited with creatin humans out of clay and giving them life, as well as stealing fire from the gods and teaching the humans to control it (dictionary.com).  As Prometheus, Frankenstein was met only with torment as his reward.  Frankenstein’s “monster and the scientist himself are called by modern culture as the same.  It begs the question of who is the real monster of the story.

Punishment of Prometheus

Punishment of Prometheus

http://www.pantheon.org/articles/p/prometheus.html

Boris Karloff as Frakenstein's monter

Boris Karloff as Frakenstein's monter

I happen to notice here a pattern however.  Shelley’s Dr. Frankenstein creation is an all too familiar depiction of science in art/ literature.  This brings back the topic of week 1 Two Cultures, and is far from the credit scientists should be given for their work with (re)animation.  I, Robot, the Terminator series, A Space Odessey, etc. are just a few of the names that come to mind when killer robots/inventions is the topic of conversation.  Why is so much focus placed on the destructive possibilities of human creation?  Is it for mere entertainment value or more deep-rooted in man’s struggle with progress and pridefulness?  All major religions of the world shun pridefulness, but not the progression of human intellect and creation.  The R.M.S. Titanic is probably the most notable historical example of  “pride cometh before a fall.”  Men learned that the “Unsinkable” was, but that should only have pushed them to better construction techniques, not fear of attaining greatness, and perhaps a healthy respect for natural forces.

The "Unsinkable"

The "Unsinkable"

On a final note with Frankenstein, a dance routine on the Fox reality show “So You Think You Can Dance” gives a great imitation of the animation scene between Dr. Frankenstein and his creature.  (Season 4; Dancers: Courtney and Joshua)

http://www.megavideo.com/?v=35C9TL7G

(time 00:04:50 until 00:07:25)

Fortunately, this hesitance towards development did not persist.  Vannevar Bush was a man far ahead of his time.  In his The Atlantic Monthly article “As We May Think,” he proposed what would come to be one one man’s greatest inventions.  The memex would be a device of collective human knowledge.  His idea laid the path for computers and the world wide web, a staple tool in industrialized nations for research, communication, leisure, business, and the propagation of new ideologies.  Computers have gone through much change in a relatively short period of time though, from filling entire rooms, to the palm of the hand.

small-computer

Hand-held PC

Computer Room

Computer Room

Some people have simplified living organisms as merely sophisticated robots.  The onl difference being our ability to reproduce.  Thanks to the dedicated scientists at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, robots have been created that can reproduce in a matter of minutes.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/05/0511_050511_robots.html

by Tiffany Russell

Week 3- by Allie Gates

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

I feel that much of our discussion in class has been focused on art as the creative force behind a scientific endeavor.  Metropolis, Tesla, and all of the snapshots of movies that we saw were examples of how science is made pretty by art, or is nudged along by artistic impulses,with the end result being one serious feat of technology or science.  However, I think it is also interesting and pertinent to think about the ways in which science is a creative force behind art. Not just a means to an end, mind you.  While I really enjoyed seeing the Professors exhibits that use  technology to create interesting pieces of art, there are also other ways to explore this idea. Science can BE the art, not just an avenue TO the art.

Last quarter, I lived in Washington D.C. and fell in love with the Hirschhorn Museum of Modern Art in the Capitol Mall. I went many times and saw an amazing video of the most convoluted Rube Goldberg Machine I have ever seen.  Traditionally, a rube goldberg machine is a machine/ chain reaction of events that is set up to do an exceedingly simple everyday task, like popping a balloon. And I just found a copy of the video!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U82eWptFxSs

The movie is a loop.  The original is twenty six minutes long. It is one, long, huge chainreaction.  For instance, a pitcher is tipped over, and its contents are spilled, pushing a wheel which strikes a match, which burns a string which pours a mystery chemical onto a bunson burner, etc. The majority of the steps are not mechanical interactions (the momentum of one object running into another), but chemical reactions, usually explosive.  Depending on where you enter the film in the exhibit, the tempo ranges from painfully slow to uncatchably fast. Every step is perfectly metered and measured to flow into the next, and the entire movie is shot in one take. Hundreds of chemical reactions and mechanical interactions perfectly set up and timed to carry on interdependently for almost a half an hour.

I love this exhibit because its such a great example of true synonymy between science and art.  Its not that the artist had to develop a technology to acheive the artistic end, but that the chemistry itself is the art itself. There are no steps between the science and art, as there is no sense of removal. One does not first witness the art, and then conceptualize the science behind it.  It is impossible to think of the scientific or artistic aspects of this piece exclusively, because they are one in the same.

More importantly, I get the impression that the piece isn’t harkening to any higher idea than this interplay between science and art. Although I’m not a seasoned art critic, this piece seems to rejoice in the beauty of science without attempting to portray a lot of other ideas.  It marries the two disciplines in a fundamental way by just letting them be.

Art. Science. Whats the difference?

Week3_Math, Robotics, and what the world of new technology means for Traditional Art by Kirk Naylor

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

This week, I found many of the topics interesting as well as insightful and so decided to not focus on any one in particular, but instead look more into all of them. Firstly, I’d like to discuss a very new and exciting theory in math and physics, and that is String Theory. This theory is exciting, because it is the first theory ever validly conceived to describe the entire universe, from the quantum level to galaxies. String theorists propose that the universe could have as many as 11 dimensions, and that all quantum interactions are determined based on the vibrating of strings in the 11th dimension. This theory is directly relevant to the video we watched on Tuesday, about drawing lines, branching, and folding to depict more and more dimensions. This brings me to the subject of four dimensional art. such as this long-exposure of a trapeze artist

This is an example of one type of four-dimensional art. This is the static type of four-dimensional art. Pieces of static four-dimensional art are usually long-exposure pictures or paintings or sculptures where movement is shown through the repetition or blur of objects, as if the viewer is looking at multiple instants in time at once. The second type of four-dimensional art is moving four-dimensional art. This art is often digitally rendered and changes over time to show the flow of time, as opposed to static, where all images are showed at once. Often, this type of four-dimensional art uses a mathematical algorithm to determine what it would look like at each instance, such as this four-dimensional portrayal of the Julia set, a fractal.

watch?v=XIasuHbxlxw

In Walter Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” he discusses how over time, we have become more and more able to create and and reproduce art, and the value of these reproductions. With the heralding of the age of robotics, it is possible for art to be created and reproduced like never before. This leads to interesting questions about the value of this art, similar to the ones brought up in Benjamin’s article. He says “Mechanical reproduction of art changes the reaction of the masses toward art.” I believe that this shows that there are certain unbreakable bonds between art and technology and society as a whole, and it shows that all three must evolve together, or the other two would stagnate. However, the very nature of mechanical reproduction changes the way art is viewed. Initially, the creation of a car was viewed as much a piece of art, as well as an industrial production. This is because originally, skilled craftsmen would create each piece with skill and care. However, with the invention of the assembly line, and later robots, the car was able to be mass-produced and is for the most part seen entirely as a piece of industrial work.

hand made car

hand made car

modern assembly line

modern assembly line

by Kirk Naylor

Week 3: On Aura, Originality and Copies by Ryan Andre Magsino

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Week 3: On Aura, Originality and Copies by Ryan Andre Magsino

I too copied and pasted my following thoughts from a text editor to the browser to be published on the blogosphere. Does this imply however that the originality or aura per say has all but drifted away from my thoughts? To answer this question, we must first look into defining aura and its method of measurement. Walter Benjamin, in his essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” defines aura as “the unique phenomenon of a distance.” Does this infer that by standing closer to a sculpture, I am able to absorb a greater understanding of its aura? Neigh. Rather a saying I believe would run parallel to Benjamin’s definition would be that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” If the purpose of art is to produce and/or arrange “elements in a way that appeals to the sense or emotions” then the aura of such a piece must be the “unique phenomenon” pulling away at our own senses or emotions. Therefore, the aura absorbed from a piece depends entirely on the perspective of the one(s) viewing it. However, as the sciences through modern technology take root in society, we are moving away from manual mediums to digitized copies. Throughout most of his essay, Benjamin relates to the capturing of an image. He relates to humanity originally using paintings as a medium of capturing an image; but as pursued digital technology, photography and film soon took its place. One of the major differences between the two is the ease of replicating digital media compared to manual media. This brings about two issues, the replication of an original work and the debatable existence of aura in a duplicate.

copy

If I were to make a digital backup (copy) of my favorite song from my favorite artist’s album (physical copy of a prior recording) and then plan to use it for artistic purposes, is there anything wrong with me in doing so? This and other closely related questions have fueled the current debates over music, copyrights and the rights of use. Surprisingly, even the well-known birthday song “Happy Birthday to You” is copyright by Warner Chappell Music. Rumors claim that rights to use of said song would run up to $10,000 USD. On the other hand, if anyone was allowed to simply replicate something and call it their own, is it really theirs? Since music is essentially “an art form whose medium is sound organized in time,” should there be a penalty for arranging sounds similarly? The following is a video showing how many popular songs utilize the same/highly similar chords: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHBVnMf2t7w). Is there such a thing as being completely original? Another striking case is the “Amen Break,” a widely-recycled rhythmic backdrop, its use over the decades and how it came to become licensed: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SaFTm2bcac).

artif

Duplicates, Copies, Clones…call them whatever you like, but are they really the exact same thing as the original? Does it retain all the functions let alone the aura of the original? As modern science approaches what science fiction writers could have only imagined prior, mankind has pursued the ability to duplicate/replicate our very existence both genetically and artificially. Although we are determined, we have yet to create a perfect product. Yet, is the creation of a perfect duplicate/replicate even possible? One of the popular themes in the realm of science fiction is the existence or lack of aura in a copy. Being either a genetic or artificial copy, they may present feelings or emotions. But were those emotions or feelings they emit merely programmed into their existence? Answers to questions like these usually determine the viewpoint of the author.

Bonus: A comic response to the Time Machine clip we watched during lecture recently:

comic2-1421

Week 3- Robotics and Art by Kimberlie Shiao

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

This week’s topic was about the Industrial Age, kinetic art and robotics. While the idea of a robot existed before industrialization in examples such as Mary Shelley’s 1831 Frankenstein monster, mass production and exchangeable parts helped push forward the idea of a human-designed creature that could move and think (maybe) on its own. Computers- which are the minds of today’s robots- have been a major step to realizing this dream (or nightmare).

While many tales of “humans playing gods”, so to speak, are cautionary ones, there are many benefits to robots. With computers and robots we have been able to accomplish more in science and math. We have also been able to reach out to communicate, create and share information, ideas and art with others. With human input and guidance, robots are able to accomplish feats that were previously thought to be tasks and challenges for humans, such as solving a Rubix Cube. While we’re only beginning to explore the possibilities that modern technology can bring us, art has suggested possibilities that guide us to and away from the directions we attempt to take in robotics.

Many traditional imaginings about computer/robot-human relationships take on a pessimistic view. Classic but modern examples are Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (released in 1927) George Orwell’s 1984 (written in 1949), where humans use technology to worsen other human lives. A more antagonistic relationship between technology and humans is depicted in the contemporary blockbuster film, The Matrix, where computers keep humans in a thrall of virtual reality and use their physical bodies for power. While The Matrix seems to depict an almost Terminator-esque straight forward humans-versus-robot conflict, there are points where “robotic” nature of the programs (who/which manifest as people) in the Matrix world are called into question. This theme of the melding natures of human, computer, and robot is not new. Classic examples include the 1982 film Blade Runner (based on Phillip K. Dick’s book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep), the 1968 film 2001: Space Odyssey (based on Arthur C. Clarke’s story The Sentinel), and Isaac Asimov’s 1950 book I, Robot. All three of these deal with the evolution (and characteristics) of technology and humans as convergent, not parallel or divergent. While not necessarily a completely optimistic idea, I feel it is a positive change in the way we view and approach robots. The science of computers and robotics brings a future of possibilities that allow us to explore and question things often found in art fields: our perceptions of identity, self, freedom, and power. And thus, science and art are seeming to evolve in a way that is converging, much like sci-fi’s robots and humans (or should it be humans and robots?)

Of course, we probably have a long way to go before both humans and robots reach such levels of sophistication. But we’re not as far as some might think; robots and computers can be nearly omnipresent.


(Sorry for hotlinked image. The image also links to the source article about robot population density.)


(Another hotlinked image; sorry.)

-Kimberlie Shiao

Wk3_Mind-Body Problem by Alana Chin

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

This week in lecture, we talked about the Industrial age, kinetic art, and robotics. Professor Vesna introduced the philosopher Rene Descartes and his ideas on mechanical philosophy and dualism. Dualism basically states that the mind is independent of nature and physics and that it can’t be limited to the brain or a distinct substance. I was intrigued by this concept and decided to learn more about it, which brought me to the mind-body problem. According to Wikipedia, which is actually as reliable a source as is the Encyclopedia [http://news.cnet.com/Study-Wikipedia-as-accurate-as-Britannica/2100-1038_3-5997332.html]), the mind-body problem tries to explain the relationship between the mind and body and determine how one affects the other. At first, this doesn’t seem to be much of a problem at all. Your body senses something and it sends a signal to your brain. You see a hamburger and you think, “Yum food.” It seems simple enough. But then I read into it a little more and confused myself. The brain is just a mass of tissues and electrical signals. Where are my thoughts coming from? I know that different signals are firing all over my brain to trigger visual recognition of the hamburger and the feeling of hunger, but how am I able to think, “oh boy, hamburgers are my favorite.” Wikipedia states it better: the mind-body problem “explains how someone’s propositional attitudes (e.g. beliefs and desires) can cause that individual’s neurons to fire and his muscles to contract in exactly the correct manner” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_mind). If the mind is this abstract thing without physical substance or matter, how can it have such a physical effect on the body? And most people would agree that the mind is abstract. People would say that the mind is personality or soul. The way your mind works is distinct from anyone else’s. However, you can’t see your mind. You can’t touch it. It is just there. Yet somehow, this massless, physically nonexistent thing is capable of influencing the physical body. I suppose what I am trying to say is that the mind is this entity that gives personality and authenticity to a person. Without the mind, the physical being is just not the same.

As I was contemplating this, I started reading “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” by Walter Benjamin. I don’t know if I was just still consumed by the concept of the mind-body problem, but I couldn’t help but relate the reading to it. Walter Benjamin argued that art is reproducible. Especially with new technology, many kinds of media, from prints to graphic art, can be perfectly reproduced. However, Walter Benjamin argues that although it may look the same, it still lacks “its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be.” He continues to explain that it would lack historical testimony and the wear and tear of previous ownership but essentially he is saying that the replica lacks timing. Now this doesn’t make sense to me. First of all, of course it lacks timing. It is simply impossible for the replica to be made at the exact same time as the original. As we learned previously, you cannot cross dimensions and travel through time. That’s just way confusing. Secondly, the replica lacks the original’s “unique existence” because by definition, that is what makes the original. Just like the mind is an entity that gives personality and authenticity to the body, the original has personality and authenticity by being the first one. Walter Benjamin doesn’t make sense to me because by definition, the replica cannot exist equally as the original because then you would just have two originals and that is an oxymoron all by itself. It just doesn’t make sense. Now my brain hurts but I will pretend that I understand since apparently the mind influences the body.

Alana Chin