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The work of art in the phygital age

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The work of art in the Phygital age

Even the MOst perfect reproduction of a work of art lacks one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence in the place where it is found. This unique existence of the work of art determines the history to which it is subject throughout the time of its existence. This includes changes in your physical condition over the years, as well as various changes in your ownership.

– Walter Benjamin,The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction; LIGHTS; Edited by Hannah Arendt, translated by Harry Zohn, from the 1935 essay New York: Schocken Books, 1969

Walter Benjamin Illuminations by Nazmiyal Antique Rugs

GermanJewishPhilosopher and cultural icon Walter Benjamin wrote about social progress and technological advances and how their collision (and inevitable collusion) irrevocably changes the way we appreciate and consume art.

For Benjamin, each reproduction of the original quickly diminishes the very essence of the work of art. He refers to the “aura” of a painting as an integral element that could never be present in a photograph of the same work. In the same way that looking at MOuntains on the horizon or feeling the shadow of a tree over our heads carries a specific aura, an unrepeatable essence with which a pictorial representation (photographic, painted or drawn) of the same landscape could never be imbued. Benjamin observed All this in 1935.

Fast forward to 2022, when for a while now, we’ve All felt like we really are on the cusp of the next big thing. Technology was galloping long before the pandemic and accelerated to a frenzy in mid-Covid. Now we are all semi-literate when it comes to NFTs or Crypto; We use the word “phygital” MOre easily when trying to describe this bold, new, and extremely exciting world at the very intersection of the physical and the virtual, the tangible and the intangible. We chat casually with friends and colleagues about the Metaverse and express our concerns about identity and representation in this new uncharted universe, the ethics and morality of anything and everything data-oriented, data-driven, and everything. extracted. We seem a little scared but also a little excited about our new Meta-Netizenship status. We want to boldly go where previous generations could not. And why not? We now have the means and the way to become futuristic Argonauts and this utopian or dystopian future (depending on how you once choose to perceive it) is nothing less than the here and now.

How would Walter Benjamin process and critique today’s proliferation of digital and physical works of art, Modern collectibles, and the endless, mindless reproduction of works of art on any surface or in any imaginable consumer product? (Do we really need umbrellas with Van Gogh’s Starry Night?)

In a world where imitation trumps weirdness, is there any value (intrinsic or otherwise) in anything else? Why bother looking for an original when you can get a cheap copy? What place in the stratosphere of art do antiquities occupy today? And doantique rugsdoes it matter at all?

Antique Rugs by Nazmiyal Antique Rugs

Personally, I always saw reproductions as parasites that tried to devour the essence of the original. This viral pleThora of copycats (ominous, ubiquitous, from fashion todecorative interiors/furniture, jewelry, books, documents and really everything else we consume) threatens but never succeeds in replacing the authentic object. I may only be able to afford a reproduction of something, but will spending money on a copy quench my thirst for the real thing? far from there

Blame the polarizing bias of human nature, but while each of us wants to be different and unique, we all flock to the same e-retailers for generic purchases, we all celebrate our inimitable, authentic, snowflake selves with a toast of similar mass. -produced glassware. We dress our homes with generic furniture and accessories. It’s easier, more cost-effective, and doesn’t require any taste or research at all. We can’t afford to waste time, so we convince ourselves that a reproduction is almost the same as the original. That the machine-produced copy still has a bit of the soul or gravitas of the object it is desperately trying to replace.

Naturally, this assumption is incorrect. The lack of the “aura” of the genuine object in the mechanically replicated piece simply means that there could be no genuine emotional connection to the reproduction of an original.

My affection and affinity for antiques stems in part from the fact that they are unique entities that were crafted at a specific time by a skilled craftsman. No one can revisit the coordinates of your creation. Its provenance can often be confirmed. Always, each piece has its own story. There is a strong sense of heritage. And in the words of Benjamin, there is (you guessed it) an aura. Antique rugs are especially loaded with history. They come from regions of the world with a rich past, are made with the utmost expertise and are steeped in the weaver’s own history. Some are incredibly rare, some are even “museum quality”, uncommon, with a character and temperament that remain untamed, elusive. Many are aged by time and their unique historical weight, but remain immensely coveted. What we look for in an antique rug is a mix of stunning beauty and a bit of history. Armed with a Proustian sensibility, we search for time, for glory, for a memory that is now lost, except in the fibers of these extraordinary pieces that are part of our collective human experience.

Persian Rugs by Nazmiyal Antique Rugs

This unrivaled combination of unrivaled heritage, distinctive history, quality craftsmanship, the strong connection between weaver and creation, and of course, breathtaking beauty, gives antique rugs an aura that is unrivaled by any reproduction. I know Walter Benjamin would agree. You would not do that?

PostingThe work of art in the phygital agefirst appeared inAntique rugs Nazmiyal.

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