Again: digital reproduction never exists in isolation but always alongside redistribution and other activities.
While Benjamin saw the aura as unique, today’s digital aura seems to grow through the omnipresence of an image—either potential or actual—an almost ecstatic kind of immanence, which can be banal and monumental, private and public, individual and collective, local and global.
Cult value not only fuses with exhibition value through digitization but also seems to be based upon a direct participation in any single image’s life, whereby tweeting becomes akin to touching a ceremonial relic, if not a religious icon. As the Oscar selfie suggests, the digital aura appears as “the mass phenomenon of proximity, however unique the image may be.”
Since even an amateur cat video can become famous, perhaps it’s a cult of looking and simply participating by looking with others.
And since the digital image is at once its countless reproductions—potentially in the millions, as the Oscars tweet demonstrates—the image exhibited online today is always understood in terms of its following. Its cult.
TRUE BLUE OR THE WORK OF IMAGES IN THE AGE OF DIGITAL REPRODUCTION
by Jennifer Allen
proximity and participation as new values- and how Getty’s change of attitude towards watermarking acknowledges the shift from protection (copyright) to a monetization of the embed/ share function- as long as the image can be linked back to your URL, it’s useful info (i.e. it has economic value- perhaps more, they must have concluded, than attempting to lease images, which could probably be found elsewhere anyway, even if at lower res or not exactly right)