In the moment…

November 2, 2011 § 1 Comment

Recently I was going through some old videos of my high school career and came across a video from senior year. It was of our homecoming pep rally where the organization I was involved with challenged the school step team to a dance off. The video was a nice recreation of that four minutes of my life, but it will never be able to generate the same feeling as being there first hand.

This week we read The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Walter Benjamin. He describes a theory of “aura” and it’s effectiveness through replication. Benjamin describes aura as a “unique phenomenon of a distance, however close it may be.” This is the audience’s proximity to the action happening in time and space. He describes aura as unique and as something that can’t be replicated – something I completely agree with.

Being a photographer/videographer, I capture a lot of moments. When those moments are replayed, they show exactly what I saw – without the aura, per se. I can recreate the images on a screen, but I can’t share the proximal environment at the time because that moment in time is unique.

This can somewhat be applied to viral media. The original source creates a unique aura, while all replication afterwords dilute the original aura decreasing its overall effectiveness. The biggest example I can think of is the UCLA Asians in the Library rant. Her original video is the one that sparked the most emotional responses from the people. When taken down, replications were posted but did not have the same effectiveness as the original.

As technology advances, so does the methods of replication. It’ll be interesting to see how three dimensional technology increase in the next decade or so.

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§ One Response to In the moment…

  • catriarchy says:

    It is extremely interesting to consider how replication-oriented technologies will develop, but it sounds like something incredibly hard to implement successfully. Personally, I am hesitant to say that replication will ever be completely effective. As you said, you can capture images and sounds of a moment, but it still isn’t the same as capturing THE moment. The same emotional response experienced during the original moment cannot really be replicated. And it’s not that technology isn’t powerful enough, it’s that the human brain does not react the same way to an event it has encountered multiple times.

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