Continuing my quest on digital art, which I started on my previous post, I started thinking about the aura of digital art as I was reading Rushkoff’s “Program or be programmed: Ten commands for digital age” .(which is a great book by the way and a must read for everyone, really, it is.) Anyway Rushkoff reminded me of early 20th century philosopher Walter Benjamin who wrote about the Aura of the original artwork. I started thinking if there exists an aura in digital artworks. Digital art is so abstracted from real life and exists in real life only through electronic media. Without electricity there would be no digital art.
In the book Rushkoff talks about digital medias bias towards abstraction. How it is not the real thing but abstraction of it. So artwork in digital media are mere abstractions of art works, representations of art. This is specially the case with digital paintings or sculptures, they merely represent the artwork from real life or they have been created with abstactions of tools we use in real life. Digital brushes, paints, lights, surfaces, mass are only abstractions of the originals. Benjamin compared mass produced artbooks to original artworks represented in them. The picture in the book can be exactly the same but still lack the special something of the original. Also Benjamin points out that people, after seeing the artworks in books, often do “pilgrimage” to museums to see the real thing. Original artworks have the aura which mass produced copies lack. So can digital art more easily be compared to mass produced art books, than into original art works? For me at least, they lack the aura of the original art in the sameway.
But how about code art, programming as art? It is still made with the abstacted digital media, but in a way I feel they have the Aura of the original artworks in them. Maybe because they are not made with abstacted tools, but use the original tools of digital media?
I must confess that now I have exaggerated and bit oversimplified digital arts now, but this is only to formulate my question and thought in a more clear and understandable way.