'The technique of reproduction detaches the reproduced object from the domain of tradition. By making many reproductions it substitutes a plurality of copies for a unique existence. And in permitting the reproduction to meet the beholder or listener in his own particular situation, it reactivates the object reproduced.'
Walter Benjamin, ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’
(In my own work), duplicating another image via the trawling through, mostly, existing reproductions. The repeatedly reproduced image leads to a process of ruination or lessened quality.
Something done by machines or humans, when they make more of something, such as themselves, or things, or images.
A reproduction often entails a shift in materiality (an upgrade or a downgrade), which is sometimes nearer to a translation (when the original material is taken care of and stays intact) or a transformation (when the original material does not stay intact). Along with materiality, scale, and sometime depth, play an important part.
Reproduction is both promise and threat. It promises abundance, wide circulation, democracy, even; but it threatens to level hierarchies, reduce everything to sameness, liquidate authenticity.
Through reproduction, mechanical modes of representation shatter coherence, projecting a fragment of a moment into future time and other spaces. Photography and film crack things up. They do this by dislodging what is apprehended from its time and space, its here and now. In severing the artistic conventions of originality and authorial creativity, they contribute to ‘a shattering of tradition’, as Walter Benjamin phrases it. And they shatter too, or may shatter, appearance, in order to reveal deeper, other, more essential forces at work in the world. The camera may slice through the surface appearance of everyday life, as does a surgical instrument through skin. In so doing, it contravenes the tendency of film to glide over surfaces, forcing what is represented to become, in Benjamin’s words, ‘its manifold parts being assembled according to a new law’. The world is ‘laid open’, in order to be entered, and viewers come away with an enhanced knowledge of the structure of actuality through exposure to this super-perceptive and analytical eye. Audiences penetrate the secrets contained even in very ordinary reality, once it has been fractured into shards. The world is as if of glass, shatterable. In being smashed, having passed through the glass of the camera, it releases meaning for us. The shattered articulation of what is, has been, will be scatters from itself another meaning.