Week 3/Digital Reproduction/Amy Chen

Douglas Davis’ article “The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction” talks about the uniformity of an original artwork and that of its reproduction.  He states that even in fine arts, the distinction between the original and its copy is slowly eroding.  I can agree to certain points and this is perhaps one of the reasons why fine arts has developed to the style it is now.  But what about land based art?  One of the greatest earthwork sculptures, and definitely one of the most popular, is the Spiral Jetty by Robert Smithson.  One of the reasons why I personally enjoy the Spiral Jetty is because at the time, art was continuously being commercialized, such as through the reproductions of paintings.  Robert Smithson found a way to avoid that and to avoid “containment.”  By building the Spiral Jetty at an actual site (in Utah), he goes beyond the containment of museums and cleverly avoids any possible reproductions.  To truly experience this art piece, one must go to the actual location and walk upon the spirals.  It’s an experience that can’t be reproduced, and the reproduction will never equal the original since the experience of the piece relies so heavily on its environment (such as even the color of the sea).



On a separate note, watching all the films in Desma lecture on Thursday was fun and thought provoking.  When watching Charlie Chaplin’s “The Modern World” I got a sense that as soon as he was sucked into the machine, he came out as a machine.  It was as if through the monotonous routine of the gears shifting he lost his creativity and human side of himself.  This of course can be enlarged outward to the idea of Taylorism which linked me to Dystopic books, one in particular being Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.  There everyone does one specific job and they revere Ford as their creator.  Ford created a system of organization that is efficient in mass production and mass consumption.  The society in Brave New World functions together to be efficient, even going as far as to sabotage a fetus’ development by way of oxygen deprivation or other ways to cause mental retardation.  This baby then is conditioned to perform one task and one task only, and is even conditioned to believe that their life is fulfilled – believing that only they can perform that one task. 


One link I particularly liked from the desma home page was the link to the youtube video about circuit bending.  Although when regarding technology one tends to think they are intended for a specific purpose it’s enlightening to see people literally bending this purpose around.  Using the circuit boards, people are able to warp sounds and create sounds that were never before in existence into existence. 

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