Death Of The Author & The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.

The Death of The Author – Roland Barthes

Barthes argues in his essay, The Death Of The Author, that there is no connection between the artist and their piece of music. Roland Barthes was a French literary theorist, philosopher, critic, and semiotician. He argues that the author’s political views, historical context, religion, ethnicity, psychology, or other biographical or personal attributes have no connection to the work and we don’t need them to distill meaning from the work.
I agree with this essay to some extent. For example acoustic artists like myself sometimes write songs to express emotion and when we perform it, we are passionate about it. Some Dj’s however, such as Girl Talk, who mash up songs may have no connection to their work. You can tell it is theirs because of the style perhaps but they haven’t written any lyrics or music to give them an emotional connection to the music.

The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction – Walter Benjamin

Benjamin was a German Jewish literary critic, philosopher, social critic, translator, radio broadcaster and essayist. In his essay, ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’, he discusses how art created in the past differs from art created in the present. Art meaning music, photography and film. The meanings and authenticity from art created in the past have changed when we look at them now, to what they were when they were first created. Due to new technology and current issues we could have an opinion or story about a piece of artwork that could have nothing to do with why it was made.
This essay can relate to modern day music in the way that artists cover, sample and remix older songs. For example a DJ could sample a lyric from a really meaningful song about issues in the past, and make it seem totally meaningless in a dance track.


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