Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Unique Appearance of a Distance

Mountainfield Study (Tinfoil, Snow and Earth), 2014
I haven’t thought about Benjamin’s discussion of the aura in this manner for a while, for some reason.  But, I’m going to a conference on Landscape and Environment next week in Scotland (Screen Studies) and it was referenced in an abstract.  Now, I’m FAR too tired to write carefully about this at the moment, having spent most of the day either running or hiking through the mountains here in Ólafsfjörður, but I’m going to try to get back to it in a subsequent post. 

Suffice it to say, yeah, that’s got a hell of a lot to do with what I’m thinking about in this space/these spaces. 

Here’s part of the passage from Benjamin’s Little History of Photography:

And thus such pictures, too, … suck the aura out of reality like water from a sinking ship.  
What is aura, actually?A strange weave of space and time: the unique appearance or semblance of distance, no matter how close it may be. 
Now, to bring things closer to us, or rather to the masses, is just as passionate an inclination in our day as the overcoming of whatever is unique in every situation by means of its reproduction. The peeling away of the object's shell, the destruction of the aura, is the signature of a perception whose sense for the sameness of things has grown to the point where even the singular, the unique, is divested of its uniqueness—by means of its reproduction.

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