Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be. … The presence of the original is the prerequisite to the concept of authenticity.’
Walter Benjamin, ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’
'A desire for authenticity has emerged as a reaction to shifts with new media technologies at their core.'
Erika Balsom: ‘Against the Novelty of New Media: the Resuscitation of the Authentic’
…a doubting Thomas needing to put the finger onto – or into – something. An artificially isolated entity, taken out of the surrounding chain and flow of signification (sometimes this is called an “object”), might be said to lack authenticity because it has been taken out of the chain and flow of signification (see cast). A possibly mistaken quest (see Original).
term applied to an object, artefact or utterance understood or taken to be real, genuine, original or actual in some significant way esp in relation to a particular scene, context or frame of authorship.
worth noting the 'understood or taken to be' there - one might make some substitutions:
term applied to an object, artefact or utterance felt or perceived to have qualities commonly associated with the real, genuine, original or actual in relation to a particular scene, context or frame of authorship.
(guess i think about it in performative terms.. meaning it's relative, fluid, appears and disappears in relation to viewer/context)
A desire for authenticity seems to emerge at moments marked by a seeming imposition of sameness. In the nineteenth century, amidst new processes for the mass production of images, things, and subjectivities, it became a moral value of great significance. Now, after many (deserved) assaults and critiques, it is back – in the vogue for the first-person, the thirst for the artisanal, the attachment to old media. Business writers Gilmore and Pine deem it a new consumer sensibility. What, then, could be its critical potential? Is the desire for the authentic a retrograde attachment to (false) origins? Or does its anachronism provide a necessary challenge to our present? Any answer would have to attend to particular instances, with plenty of room for ambivalence.
Thinking about authenticity seems to produce the uncanny. There's a Vonnegut quote about sixties people dreaming of living as if they were in the stone age. I often think about it when I hear mention of Paleo diets, imagining Californian bellies overlapping in sugar-free fantasies of caveman plenty. Authenticity draws its energy and undeniable power from the correspondences between logic and emotion, two systems within cognition. No doubt, as Erika Balsom comments, it is an artefact of the represented self. Here, in this exhibition, authenticity emanates in the overlap between forms and doubles. In this strange weave, copies dream of being another copy of themselves.