By Arved Ashby
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Extra info for Absolute Music, Mechanical Reproduction
Erasmus’s edition, and the so-called Complutensian Polyglot published in Spain in 1522, allowed believers—at least those who could read Greek—to see for themselves the mistakes Jerome made in the Vulgate translation that had served the Roman Catholics for some seven hundred years. 15 How to describe the “tipping point” between the suppressive and the liberatory potential of texts as regards readers’ access to such texts? Is a situation where a text sits in the hands of a few a limiting situation, and a scenario where a text is in the hands of many a liberating one?
But that relative obscurity served to enable this Bach-Gould paradigmatic text, and it is hard to imagine such an inﬂuential performance as the “Gouldbergs”—as the pianist himself jokingly dubbed the record—originating in different circumstances.
Benjamin looked back to a time when art was, as a matter of course, explicitly or implicitly connected with religious observance and ideas of the sacred, and he asked what happens when such art not only survives into a secular age but is replicated at the demand of late capitalism. If the artwork is recent, its aesthetic capital comes from its indebtedness to those earlier ideals. Benjamin saw something similar to Kateb’s madness in the “shattering” of custom and cultural notions of originality that is caused by technologically assisted reproduction: That which withers in the age of mechanical reproduction is the aura of the work of art.
Absolute Music, Mechanical Reproduction by Arved Ashby