Week 3_The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction_Joseph Racca

“There is no clear conceptual distinction now between original and reproduction in virtually any medium based in film, electronics, or telecommunications.  As for the fine arts, the distinction is eroding, if not finally collapsed.”

-Douglas Davis

How could it be so easy to mistake a twin for their identical other?  Exactly, the question is there in the answer, the twins are identical, therefore are difficult to distinguish between.  In art, this same problem is becoming more and more apparent as digital reproduction of art pieces increases.  Not only digital reproductions are the single problem, along with the digital comes the ‘real’ reproductions, such as replicas of sculptures, paintings, etc.

Identical Twins, Difficulty in distinguishing the two? (At times)

Identical Twins, Difficulty in distinguishing the two? (At times)

These reproductions counter integrity of the originals, sometimes even being so similar to the original that it becomes impossible to tell which was the original to begin with.  When we Google an image, let’s say Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, we are given hundred of thousands of results.  But which is the original?

The answer to that is more obvious than some might expect.  So which is the original?  None of them of course, all of these results are simply just results of “reproductions,” digital reproductions to be exact.  They may all seem to be similar and present the same results, because that is what they are, the same result and that result is that of mere digital reproductions.

Which is which?

It’s the case of the impostor; who is the bad one and who is the good one?  Like I will mention later, it becomes a dilemma when it comes to finding the beauty in the real arts.

Digital reproduction, a problem even with digital media.  These days, as the article states, “The fictions of “master” and “copy” are now so entwined with each other that it is impossible to say where one begins and the other ends.  As seen with motion pictures, people have managed to “reproduce” these works of art and much of the time the differences are undetectable, making it difficult to distinguish what is real from what is fake.

Distinguishable from the originals from the outside, but pop in the disc and you can barely tell the difference.

Distinguishable from the originals from the outside, but pop in the disc and you can barely tell the difference.

Over time, if we don’t do something about it, we will begin to lose appreciation for what really matters, the master ‘copy’ so to speak.  We will soon take for granted the original masterpieces in art, paintings, sculptures, portraits, and music.  With multiple reproductions, we tend to see the originals as less significant.  We don’t appreciate the little details, the fine details in original works of art.  And even though digital reproductions of are close to the originals, they are merely just reproductions, never embodying the pure essence of the original it seeks to mimic.

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