The core concept that the author put up is "authenticity", which abstracted from the natural scene that the aura's appearance needed to happen in a unique presence in time and space. However, in the age of mechanical reproduction, in other words, which also is the central point that the author discussed, in the growth of techniques, the "aura" of art disappeared. Thus, what happened to the work of art, and what significance the changes would bring into the society?
The author centered on photography and film as key subjects as most serviceable exemplifications of new mechanical reproducing techology to make them compare with painting as a traditional form, in that way to make his own argument. Furthermore, Benjamin's starting point was under the Marx's theory that manifest the culture's change or art's transition in the conditions of production, but with a critical attitude to his position that using capitalistic mode to consider only the proletariat can change the production structure, instead, to talk about the development tendencies of art under present conditions of production.
Based on that, considering the background of the day (written in 1935), the author argued that Fascism introduced aesthetics into political life which was the source of the war, and discussed the new value of art that technologies brought about which could be a weapon against Fascist sense whom expected war to supply the artistic gratification of a sense perception that has been changed by technology, to pointed out that the value of art, the power of art could not be neglected so that help to formulate revolutionary demands in the politics of art.
1. The new techniques of mechanical reproduction challenged the traditional art and changed the notion of art by destroying the "aura", that is, the authenticity.Set "film" as an example: on the one side, the aura exists only between the actors and audience at a instant time, but now the audience face with the camera; on the other side, the film is finished by cutting from different shots into an unified scene.
2. How did the author associate the arts with politics?
Continuing the discussion about the "authenticity", the author figured out that the unique value of the "authentic" work of art has its basis in ritual, however, the reproduction emancipates the work of art from its parasitical dependence on ritual by pursuing "pure" art and playing exhibition value. Then the work of art changes its ritualistic basis to political practice basis.
the instant the criterion of authenticity ceases to be applicable to artistic production, the total function of art is reversed. Instead of being based on ritual, it begins to be based on another practice - politics.
（Y: I still can't understand why the exhibition value matters the politics.）
3. How did the work of art made by reproduction affect the masses?
Mechanical reproducibility of art eliminated the graduated and hierarchized mediation to appreciate the works and turned audiences' into simutaneously contemplation so that individual reactions are predetermined by the mass audience response they are about to produce.What's more, compared with traditional arts like paintings that only representing the reality, the contemporary art thoroughgoingly permeate into reality with mechanical equipment that free the other aspect of reality from the foreign substance of equipment. For example, the camera could record slow motion that naked eye could not capture. In that way, it introduces us to unconscious optics as does psychoanalysis to unsonscious impulses, penetrate our reality unsconsciously. Thus, this power of art shaped a new mode of masses participation which would result in uncontrolled, if is applied in politics.
4. Response to the reality: Different with Maxism, Fascism's way to organize masses is not to affect the property structure which the masses strive to eliminate as a proletarianization, but change property relations, so that Fascism introduced aesthetics into political life which was the source of the war. Fascism expected war to supply the artistic gratification of a sense perception that has been changed by technology, and experienced its own destruction as an aesthetic pleasure of the first order. In order to against Fascism, the author concluded that "Communism responds by politicizing art".
Some reflection to technology is pretty good, such as:
The destructiveness of war furnishes proof that society has not been mature enough to incorporate technology as its organ, that technology has not been sufficiently developed to cope with the elemental forces of society.
The equipment-free aspect of reality, with the insert of mechanical reproducibility, to against Duhamel's critic to film, the author wanted to say the distraction and concentration not completely the polar side. The optical perception brings contemplation, while tactile can make people form a habit then affect their perception, without requiring any attention with contemplation.
Reception in a state of distraction; which is increasing noticeably in all fields of art and is symptomatic of profound changes in apperception.
Masses tend to watching movies rather than appreciating paintings. (Y: participating watching style like DANMU. sharing watching. Sharing is the core of internet.)