Today's discussion grew out of the assigned readings which included Borges' "Pierre Menard," Benjamin's "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," and John Lechte's Fifty Key Contemporary Thinkers: From Structuralism to Postmodernity.
I jotted (on a laptop of course) as the discussion evolved:
- Why is "aura" important to Benjamin?
- Situate Benjamin within the climate in which he was working; modernist artists and composers were beginning to talk about defining aspects of the time including a look to the future, the importance of originality, universal concepts (grand narratives). One such believer in universality was Le Corbusier:
"If I hold up a primary cubic form, I release in each individual the same primary sensation of the cube; but if Iplace some black geometric spots on the cube, I immediately release in a civilised man an idea of dice to play with, and a whole series of associations which would follow. A Papuan would see only an ornament." (1920)
- In other words, it seems Le Corbusier believes one can strip away cultural context in order to reveal only the surface meaning. This is, according to Le Corbusier because everyone "reads" primary forms in the same way.
- Does abstraction imply a stripping away of cultural significance?
- Without art in the world what would happen? Does art have a "utility" value? (Think of Malevich's Suprematist Composition: Red Square and Black Square)
Reading for next week:
Roland Barthes, Image/Music/Text, "Death of the Author" essay, and Mythologies
Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus by Ludwig Wittgenstein
Lev Manovich's The Language of New Media
Task: research the concept "literacy."