Incorporates Guy Debord’s argument that capitalism or late capitalism in the present day has become obsessed with images and appearances over truth and real experience, along with Walter Benjamin’s introduction of the notion "aura," the unique and authentic presence that a work of art possesses when it is experienced in its original form and in a specific location, my project “the Spectacle” delves into the impact of analogue technology on Generation Z, transcending cultural differences. It aims to investigate the way in which analogue photography/film serves as a counterpoint to the prevailing feelings of alienation and detachment, as it accentuates the potential for immediate engagement and fosters a tangible, communal experience in the realms of image production, cultural preservation, and the authenticity of experiences.
Guy Debord's concept of the spectacle intersects with analogue photography and film, as they played a crucial role in creating and disseminating the spectacle. The spectacle is a dominant mode of social organization where social experiences are mediated through images and representations. Analogue photography and film, being part of the mass media, produced a constant stream of commodified images consumed within the spectacle. Advertisements, movies, and visual media saturated everyday life, shaping people's experiences and desires. The reproducibility of images facilitated their integration into the spectacle, transforming them into consumable commodities rather than authentic representations of reality.
Walter Benjamin's concept of aura, on the other hand, is closely connected to traditional artistic production. In its original form and context, an artwork possesses a unique presence and authenticity. However, with the rise of analogue photography and film, the aura of original artworks further diminished. The ability to mass-reproduce and distribute images detached them from their original location and context. As a result, the proliferation of replicated photographs and films weakened the aura associated with the singular and authentic experience of the artwork.
Analogue photography and film played a vital role in both the transformation of aura, as discussed by Benjamin, and the proliferation of the spectacle, as analyzed by Debord. The reproducibility and wide dissemination of images facilitated by these mediums contributed to the commodification, alienation, and loss of authenticity associated with original artworks. While Benjamin and Debord wrote in the analogue era, their ideas remain relevant in today's digital age, where image reproduction and consumption have reached unprecedented levels. The concepts of aura and spectacle can be applied to the contemporary context, highlighting the ongoing transformation and challenges in our relationship with art, media, and the mediated experiences of the world.