Second Class Topics

We talked about “The Jon Stewart of Egypt” – Bassem Youssef.

Walter Benjamin talk amongst other things about human beings, machines, senses – and why we build this extension of ourselves.

In the video we watched about Marxism, two main ideas came up –
1. Alienation – people fear of disconnection as a consequence of living in a society stratified into social classes.
2. Commodity fetishism – In Karl Marx’s critique of political economy, commodity fetishism is the perception of the social relationships involved in the production, not as relationships among people, but as economic relationships among the money and commodities exchanged in market trade.

Marx never came up with an alternative to capitalism.

Reference to Zizek – his Toilet video on how he can understand the mentality and culture of different countries from their toilets (difference between American toilet, German etc…)

Talked about the invention of the fax or the chemistry for fixing an image, were available much earlier than actually been used, people didn’t know how to use or take advantage of them at the time they were actually invented.

– we watched a couple of videos:
Freud’s psychoanalysis
Plato in the kitchen
Chauvet Cave paintings – talked about how people created now fake paintings on top of the real ones, so the real ones won’t get damaged – in relation to what is the value of “an original”, or what is “real”.

Talking about the Walter Benjamin text:

Talks about time and what was available – today we have the camera to duplicate everything and imitate reality.

Benjamin mentions Capitalism:
– Mode of production
– Prognostic Value
Marx diagnoses an “illness” – the exploration is very clear, Capitalism can self-destruct. these conditions are reflected in the culture.

– talking about how can art be, and how it will look like when all levels of society will make it. how will it change? creativity is neutralized.
Making the art open to everyone – when used uncontrollably can become repressing.

Part II
The authenticity is the aura.
anything is reproducible as long as you have the right tools for it.

– we mentioned the destruction of negatives here.

we talked about how certain experiences have changed – once, going to Yosemite would be a life changing experience for people, being there by themselves, alone in nature. today – you are never alone, you are there with thousands of people, phones, cameras, the internet.
Also – people always come to these places with some previous knowledge, if its a story or the experience they heard from someone else, an image they saw online, its never clean, you don’t come there as “tabula rasa” anymore, which changes the experience, it cannot be authentic anymore in a way.
Now, you can have Yosemite in your living room, as you’ve taken a picture there, or even downloaded it from the internet.

People want to “recreate” the experience they think they should have – going shopping in Times Square is a must do activity – why?
Is it really for the clean experience of shopping, are the stores that unique and special there? or its just to say that you’ve done that, to recreate a movie scene?

The Mona Lisa painting in the Louvre is another example.

Can something with a sacred power be reproduced?

There’s a good and bad side in the aura, it can show new things, democratizing but demonizing.
Also – the aura might be individual. different from one to another, what it symbolizes.

We talked about the writers – how few of them we used to have, talking to the public. nowadays, anyone can be a writer, which lower the quality of the craft.

We mentioned the Met Breuer “Unfinished” art exhibition – regarding the aura. we can feel the hand of the painters. also – in reference to what is real and not, what is considered finished or not.

Abigail mentioned how some inventions became very obvious to us through the years and we don’t doubt their authenticity – like the telephone.
Talking to someone on the phone is not a real experience, it’s not authentic, as the person is not there, its just audio waves. Its a disembodied experience.

Part 5
Talking about how everything becomes an object.
is everything made to be reproduced from the beginning?

The use of art not as art but as a communication device.
Talking about the relation between Marx and Freud – they both try to resolve the shift from an industrialized world to an Informationalized state.
Abigail posed a question at the end of class regarding sensation – where is it located? on our skin, or is it internal?

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