The Work Of Art


Camerawork (Geoff Cox, Chris Rodrigues, Phaedra Stancer, Ian Makgill, Simon Crab, Mark Winstanley)
University of Plymouth
London Arts Board

contributions from:
Esther Leslie, University of East London
Julian Saunderson
Robin Serjeant
Susan Buck-Morss, Cornell University
Andrew Benjamin, University of Warwick
Phil Ellis and David Hooper

Conceptual Description

CD-ROM/website takes as its starting point Walter Benjamin's artwork essay of 1935/36. The project aims to transform its textual argument to the specifics of the form in which it now takes shape as electronic data; to comment both critically and creatively on contemporary modes of 'technical reproducibility' by using the essay itself as the object. The central analogy for this process is one of translation; from the specific technical, cultural and historical context of its production to the present moment.

The artwork essay is much quoted, much imitated and the inspiration of many other essays, not least those that parody the title itself. Its quotability and translatability along with its status as part of the contemporary canon makes it an important point of focus around issues of technological and social change. By now familiar, the central thesis is that the meaning of art changes with the character of its technical reproduction - so what happens when the essay is itself reproduced in digital form?

the work of art... CD-ROM/website is a modest project reflecting the spirit of the essay and an unregulated internet in being freely available and unfinished.