terça-feira, 21 de novembro de 2006

The aura of music

I recently watched an interview on TV with the Romanian conductor Sergiu Celibidache. Among many other interesting issues, Celibidache discusses the problem of recording versus concert. He dismissed the former in favor of the latter based on the uniqueness and unrepeatability of the live performance. It is interesting that Celibidache uses a recorded video to manifest his thoughts on this issue.
This is of course a variation of concept of aura that Walter Benjamin explored in his famous article "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" (if you can read Portuguese I wrote a paper on this; you can get it here.) Celibidache is not the only musician I've heard addressing this problem.
The question I asked in my article is basically the following: to what extent can we talk discuss the concept of aura when we evaluate works such as John Chowning's pioneering 'Turenas', a piece conceived and produced digitally that does not exist outside of the digital matrix? In other words, how is 'Turenas' physically present? And is it possible to obtain a unique and unrepeatable work that is conceived for a medium that allows infinite and perfect repeatability?

Where is, under these terms. the aura of the digital culture? Does Benjamin's concept make any sense, particularly in this day and age? 

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