The work of art in the age of its digital distribution

Jean-Philippe Deranty*, Michael J. Olson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper argues that Walter Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of its Technical Reproducibility” provides a rich analytic framework for understanding how the many dimensions of aesthetic experience interact both with each other and with social and political life more broadly. The heart of that framework is a structural theory of the relation of six core aesthetic concepts. With Benjamin’s systematic analysis in hand, the paper advances an argument about the manifestation of those core aspects and their interrelation in our own historical moment. The aim of the paper is thus to extract a rich and comprehensive theory of the work of art from Benjamin’s essay and to indicate the power of this theory through its continuing ability to illuminate the dense imbrication of aesthetics and politics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-123
Number of pages20
JournalAngelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


  • Walter Benjamin
  • Work of Art
  • aesthetics
  • politics


Dive into the research topics of 'The work of art in the age of its digital distribution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this