International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy

Journal | Volume | Article


Aura ex machina

Fabrizio Desideri

pp. 33-52


The essay has three main objectives and therefore is divided into three parts. The first is to dispel some misconceptions related to the notion of aura, in the centre of Benjamin’s essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (§ 1). First and foremost, is criticized the claim that Benjamin intends the decline of the aura of the work of art (its crisis) in terms of an irreversible end. In response to this misunderstanding is then analyzed the concept of aura in the light of fundamental opposition between the two conceptions of technology (as magic and as perfective mímesis) at the centre of the second version of the essay on the work of art (§§ 2-3). The theme of the aura is so is explained in the context of Benjamin’s other works (especially the Arcades Project and the Baudelaire), in close relationship with his political theory of experience and with its original historical materialism (§ 4). The third part of the essay, finally, concerns the contemporary metamorphosis of aura, in relation to art practice and digital interfaces that shape social life (§ 5).

Publication details

Published in:

(2013). Aura. Rivista di estetica 52.

Pages: 33-52

DOI: 10.4000/estetica.1603

Full citation:

Desideri Fabrizio (2013). Aura ex machina. Rivista di estetica 52, pp. 33-52.