The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, 1936-9

Benjamin /  1910-1917 / ÜS / 1918-1934 / KG / 1934-1940 / KZ_TR.  /  ÜBG


The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, 1936-9

Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit. Herausgegeben von Burkhardt Lindner unter Mitarbeit von Simon Broli und Jessica Nitsche. KGA 16. Suhrkamp Verlag Berlin 2012

  • Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit” 1935. KGA 16, 1-51. 52-95, 96-163. GS7, 350 -384. Translated by Edmund Jephcott and Harry Zohn. SW3. 101-133.
  • L’Œuvre d’art à l’époque de sa reproductibilité technique. Traduit par Pierre Klossowski. Zeitschrift’ für Sozialforschung. Herausgegeben im Auftrag des Instituts für Sozialforschung von Max Horkheimer Jahrgang V /1936. Librairie Felix Alcan, Paris 1936. KGA 16, 164
  • “Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit.” Fünfte Fassung. KGA 207- , GS I.2:471–508. SW 4:251–83.
  • Taideteos teknisen uusinnettavuutensa aikakaudella. Messiaanisen sirpaleita. Tutkijaliitto 1989. Suomentanut Raija Sironen.

Epilogue XVI: Fiat ars-pereat mundus

Fascism attempts to organize the newly proletarianized masses while leaving intact the property relations which they strive to abolish.

It sees its salvation in granting Expression (Ausdruck) to the masses-but on no account granting them Right (Recht).

The logical outcome of fascism is an aestheticizing of political life.

The violation (vergewaltigung) of the masses, whom fascism, with its Fuhrer cult, forces to their knees, has its counterpart in the violation of an apparatus which is pressed into serving the production of cult values (Kultwerten).

All efforts to aestheticize politics culminate in one point. War, and only war, makes it possible to set a goal for mass movements on the grandest scale while preserving traditional property relations.

” Fiat ars-pereat mundus, “says fascism, expecting from war, as´Marinetti admits, the artistic gratification of a sense perception altered by technology. This is evidently the consummation of ‘art pour ‘art.

Humankind, which once, in Homer, was an object of contemplation for the Olympian gods, has now become one for itself. Its self-alienation has reached the point where it can live and sense (erleben) its own annihilation as a first class aesthetic pleasure (Genuss).

Such is the aestheticizing of politics, as practiced by fascism. Communism replies by politicizing art.