A SEARCH FOR THE AUTHENTIC IN THE DIGITAL AGE

We live our lives permanently attached to our computers, the Internet our primary source of information and communication. Students of the arts no longer need make the arduous trip to the Louvre to experience the Mona Lisa – they can simply click on a link and download her visage to their desktops. The end of an arts exhibition no longer signals its true finish – the digital variant remains available online for all who care to see it. The history of literature and intellectual thought is at our fingertips, a mere mouse-click away. Should one wish to walk the streets of London, re-tracing the steps of Jack the Ripper, Sherlock Holmes, or The Beatles, they can do so via Google Maps’ Street View. The latest Hollywood films are instant piracy fodder, even the earliest premieres and preview screenings captured on digital videotape and uploaded as torrents of 1’s and 0’s. The experience of “Seeing it First” is no longer dictated by place, but instead by bandwidth. The element of “Being There” is no longer a necessity.

But what then of our human need for real experiences, tactile objects, a relationship with the Authentic? By this point, a bootlegged live performance of a band playing in Europe can make its way to a super-fan at his or her home in middle-America before the audience actually present has fallen asleep in their beds after the show. The experience of listening and engaging with that performance on the other side of the world is seen as almost equal in importance to the actual event. Furthermore, what impact does a work of art like the Mona Lisa (or for that matter, the Sistine Chapel) have on those taking it in with their own eyes for the second, tenth, or thousandth time? By familiarizing ourselves with the Authentic before actually experiencing the Authentic first-hand, we dilute that in-person experience? With the proliferation of digital media and digital dissemination, we are further separating ourselves from the actual. While it’s arguable that this separation from artworks and experiences has also impacted the way we view our social lives – if we can relate to the Mona Lisa via a computer screen, we also seem to believe that we can relate to countless others worldwide via virtual friendships and networks, quite often with people whom we never actually meet face-to-face. For some, these virtual approximations of the Authentic are enough. There are those to whom a Second Life is more interesting and fulfilling than a First one, but for many of us, the absolute opposite is true. Throughout the course of this paper, focusing particularly on examples from film and music, I will explore several attempts at achieving an Authentic experience with mediums that, given their inherently replicable nature, are as a rule Inauthentic. In the age of digital film and the .mp3, that connection becomes even more difficult – and in the process, some of the definitions of what constitutes an “original” begin to change.

Any exploration of the wide dissemination of art through means not directly tied to the artist’s fingertips calls upon Walter Benjamin’s influential The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. For Benjamin, the Utopic filmed visions of Nazi superiority (see: Leni Riefenstahl’s Der Sieg des Glaubens / Victory of Faith, 1933, and Triumph des Willens / Triumph of the Will, 1935) were a mis-use of the Aura inherent in film (and therefore a fake Authenticity given film’s very form as a mechanically reproduced medium), and drove him first to writing his most eternally influential of works, and secondly out of fear of anti-Semitic persecution propelled by these mass-produced images, arguably to his suicide. While certainly a supporter of the idea that the power of art now lay in the hands of the wider populace (no longer belonging only to those who could make the lengthy travels to see these works first hand), Benjamin’s deepest fear was the use of these powers of faked Authenticity used for evil. By this point, however, we’ve reached an age of nearly full equality in terms of media accessibility – Benjamin’s hopes that the playing field would even out have come true. Alternate voices and viewpoints proliferate on the Internet. False news and slanted mis-information is instantly attacked by a group of watchful pundits free to comment and self-publish whatever they see fit. Yet, while there are definite positives in this evened playing field, the sanctity of the Authentic is one almost altogether lost. While supporting the ability of mass-reproduced work as a potential force for good throughout the world, Benjamin simultaneously mourned the depletion of the true power of an Authentic work of art – what he termed the Aura – through its reproduction.

“Quantity has been transmuted into quality,” Benjamin claimed, continuing that, “The greatly increased mass of participants has produced a change in the mode of participation.” Surrounded by negative images propelled by Riefenstahl and the Nazis, even Benjamin fell prey to the overwhelming power of reproduced works in promoting a flawed ideology as the almighty truth – a series of images so powerful that they not only convinced the German public to willfully enter one of the darkest periods of modern history, but also struck fear in the hearts of the rest of the world in their presentation of this new Germany as an unstoppable force. To avoid death at the hands of the Gestapo, the ill-fated Benjamin overdosed on morphine, his biggest fear the power of reproduction having fallen into the hands of Hitler’s fascist regime and used for ill.

But, of course, we’ve come a long way from 1930s Germany, and our search for the Authentic is far less life-and-death than Benjamin’s was. For the purpose of this essay, I will examine how we as modern audiences relate (and in some ways struggle to do so) with what I find to be the two primary replicable art forms of film and music.

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Film as a medium is one that’s intended to be copied – it can’t exist otherwise. Whether we first experience a film from a celluloid print, videotape, DVD, or digital download, we are watching something removed several generations from what could be considered the film’s “original.” Copies of copies – an origin-less simulacrum of identical moving images – flash before worldwide audiences in identical formation. This very reproducible nature of film in large part prompted Benjamin’s writings, yet also one that makes the search for the Authentic in film a somewhat more interesting process than with other art forms. Visual art, more often than not, has an original on display that can be experienced first-hand. Living musicians can be observed in person. Interacting with an Authentic in film, however, is a somewhat more tenuous idea – perhaps it is this difficult nature of the relationship that sends certain film lovers on life-long quests to get as close to an Authentic as possible.

In his landmark work What is Cinema?, André Bazin writes on the power of photography vs. the other arts (in this case, specifically painting), “A very faithful drawing may actually tell us more about the model but despite the promptings of our critical intelligence it will never have the irrational power of the photograph to bear away our faith” (Bazin, 162). Echoing Benjamin’s sentiments on the power of a falsely created Authentic, Bazin acknowledges that we as viewers readily believe what we see on film as true given the innately factual foundation of photography.

Furthermore, Bazin comments on the effect of mass-produced images in full embrace of Benjamin’s ideals in proclaiming:
“This production by automatic means has radically affected our psychology of the image. The objective nature of photography confers on it a quality of credibility absent from all other picture-making. In spite of any objections our critical spirit may offer, we are forced to accept as real the existence of the object reproduced, actually re-presented, set before us, that is to say, in time and space. Photography enjoys a certain advantage in virtue of this transference of reality from the thing to its reproduction” (Bazin, 162).

Where Benjamin occasionally writes from a somewhat more frantic viewpoint (and considering the backdrop within which he was writing, who could blame him), Bazin’s reconsiderations of his thoughts are laid out in an ordered, somewhat calmer manner, and during a later moment in the development of film. Despite the differences in tone, however, both Bazin and Benjamin are saying the same thing – and in the process making a strong case for the supposed truth that audiences seek in the darkened halls of the cinema.

On Dubbing, the Argentinian film critic Jorge Luis Borges’ concise damnation of the act of dubbing films into alternate languages suggests that it is not only via the image that the audience can be duped, but also its sound. Written in the 1930s during the early era of film sound, Borges focuses on the possibilities of film fakery through alterations in elements other than the image itself. “The central fault,” he says, “[is] the arbitrary grafting of another voice and another language. The voice of Hepburn or Garbo is not accidental; it is, for the whole world, one of their defining attributes. Similarly, it is worth remembering that miming is different in English and Spanish” (Borges, 216). Snobbish (although they would consider themselves instead to be “true” rather than “snobbish”) film aficionados refuse dubbed films, the belief that a cinematic work should be viewed (and more importantly heard) only in its birth language – a more Authentic experience. (Could it be that we also associate the Authentic experience with one that is somehow more difficult, as though struggling through an encounter with as work of art makes our interaction with it somehow more worthy?) Furthermore, Borges insists, “I would never resign myself to seeing Alexander Nevsky again in any language other than the original, and I would see it eagerly, for the ninth or tenth time, if they showed it in the original version or one that I believed to be the original” (ibid, 217, italics mine).

It is here where we come to an important distinction in the present age of art consumption – the self-defined and proclaimed Original. While we as viewers have very little opportunity to view an actual work print touched by the hand of the auteur responsible (arguably the closest we can ever come to a true Original film work), we do make our own definitions of what comprises an Authentic or Original film viewing (again calling on the suggestion that it is the more difficult experience that somehow counts for more – the added activity of reading subtitles a more genuine viewing than one dubbed easily into English). Or, as Borges continues, “This last point is important: worse than dubbing, worse than the substitution that dubbing implies, is the wide-spread awareness of a substitution, of a deception” (ibid, 217).

Our search for the Authentic in film comes in both the content of the film and how it is presented to us as an audience, as well as in the actual physical version of the film with which we interact. Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1928 masterpiece La passion de Jeanne d’Arc / The Passion of Joan of Arc in many ways marks a note of transition in film towards a realist strain of filmmaking. Staggering in its simplicity and realist touches, the film has long been lauded as a foundation stone of cinema. Set out in his short introduction piece Realized Mysticism in The Passion of Joan of Arc, Dreyer somewhat contradictorily claims, “I did not study the clothes of the time, and things like that. The year of the event seemed as inessential to me as its distance from the present. I wanted to interpret a hymn to the triumph of the soul over life. […] In order to give the truth, I dispensed with ‘beautification.’ My actors were not allowed to touch makeup and powder puffs” (Dreyer). Even while heralded as a realist work, Dreyer’s Joan is one not composed to strict guidelines of historical accuracy, yet given the style in which it’s made and the brutality of much of its scenes, we as an audience are given an artifact that, despite its liberties with the truth, feels like the truth enough to convince us of it.

Including La passion de Jeanne d’Arc within the context of searching for the Authentic in film, however, goes deeper than simply its on-screen content. Following a series of tragic events in post-production, a history “almost as tortured an existence as Joan herself, being twice lost to fire” (Chandler), Dryer’s version of the film was believed lost for decades. Upon its discovery in the cleaning closet of a Danish insane asylum in the 1980s, however, the response of the film community was akin to the discovery of the Holy Grail – the ultimate Authentic film experience. Acting as a beacon of possibility, the Jeanne d’Arc discovery has also acted as a push behind the search for several other “lost” Originals, for what could make for a more Authentic viewing experience than that of a long-lost initial print?

The most famous film search surrounds Orson Welles’ 1942 film The Magnificent Ambersons, the original cut of which has been missing since initial preview screenings to bored audiences proved unsuccessful and a panicked RKO Pictures took the film out of Welles’ hands and re-edited an over two-hour epic into a messy 88-minutes. Quoted in David Kamp’s lengthy 2002 Magnificent Obsession piece for Vanity Fair, chronicling the Ambersons legacy from the film’s troubled 1940s production to today’s on-going search for a completed master copy, film director and Ambersons-hunter William Friedkin says, “If somebody had a sense of what was at stake, they might have secreted away a copy. Like Theo van Gogh’s wife kept all of Vincent’s paintings and got dealers to store them in warehouses when no one, no one, wanted to buy a van Gogh. You hope that there’s a Mrs. Van Gogh out there” (Kamp).

Given Welles’ first appearance in the international spotlight followed his successful radio ruse War of the Worlds (in which his Mercury Theatre company faked an alien landing that sent large numbers of middle Americans into panic mode; his surviving masterpiece Citizen Kane opens with the similarly faked Authentic of a falsified newsreel), it makes for almost poetic justice that the most active of searches for the ultimate Authentic in the medium of film is for one of his projects. So obsessive is the search for the Authentic Ambersons that several filmmakers have dedicated pieces of their career to its discovery – and in some cases, even it’s re-construction. While Martin Scorsese was the first to come closest to fulfilling a directorial fantasy pet project with a proposed shot-by-shot re-make filmed from Welles’ original script pages and notes in the 1970s (see: Kamp), it was Alfonso Arau who helmed the A&E network’s miniseries-length remake in 2002. Filmed in Ireland and intended to “bring long overdue restitution,” (Curran), the televised Magnificent Ambersons, however, failed to live up to expectations, and even prompted some reviewers to reconsider the original’s reputation as a masterpiece. “Sitting through the television movie, it’s difficult not to wonder whether Welles’s original script was wildly overrated,” writes Montreal critic Peggy Curran in her aptly titled piece Unfulfilled Promise: Remake of Welles’s Legendary Magnificent Ambersons Rights No Wrongs, wondering if it all, “would have been better off left to the perfect peace of what might have been.”

In the case of The Magnificent Ambersons’ re-creation at the hands of another director, an attempt to get as close to the Authentic as possible undeniably failed for many viewers. (Previously to the Ambersons’ re-make, director Gus Van Sant also undertook a shot-by-shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, ostensibly in part to re-create the complicated camera moves that Hitchcok wasn’t able to achieve with the 1950s television equipment he used in making the original. The critical and audience reaction to Van Sant’s remake was uniformly negative, insisting that any attempts to re-create a beloved original – one of our most cherished Authentic works of film art – are viewed with both suspicion and derision).

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Any discussion of repetitious images, an artistic dilution of the Authentic, and film would be incomplete without at least a cursory mention of the master of all three, Andy Warhol. In the mid-1960s, after bursting onto the art scene with a series of Pop Art masterworks ranging from paintings of Campbell Soup Cans to wooden boxes silkscreened as Brillo boxes, Warhol announced his movement from gallery pieces to film. Throughout the rest of the decade, Warhol filmed hundreds of hours’ worth of material, most infamously the two-screen epic Chelsea Girls and Empire, an eight-hour un-moving shot of the Empire State Building.

Warhol arguably built his name on artificial dis-connected visage, or, as Stephen Koch proclaims him, as the Tycoon of Passivity. Stargazer, Koch’s book-length exploration of Warhol’s films, includes a description of Warhol as the ultimate successful culmination of the ideas of Baudelaire, whose original writings also held sway over the later writings of Benjamin. “Transforming himself into the object celebrity, Warhol has made a commitment to the Baudelairean ‘resolution not to be moved’ – an effort to ensconce himself in the aesthetic realm’s transparent placenta, removed from the violence and the emotions of the world’s time and space.” Much like with his paintings of Campbell’s Soup cans and Brillo boxes, Warhol elevated the mundane into the realm of art – and in the process created a new angle from which to view and interact with an Authentic. (When we go to see a Warhol artwork, for example, there remains the very real possibility that the Authentic work we’re viewing is one which Warhol himself may not have even touched, instead merely overseeing the reproduction process in his New York City studio space, fittingly referred to as “The Factory.”)

When it comes to Warhol’s films, the cumulative effect of focusing a lens on the Empire State Building for over eight hours, or turning his camera on the motley crew of hangers-on and the “Superstars” of the Factory (Warhol’s attempt at an old Hollywood studios style star system) and simply letting them converse, is one that moves beyond mere documentary. Much like the Brillo boxes and Campbell’s Soup cans, the end result is an elevation of the banal to art – in part interesting because of Warhol’s involvement, as though he is the definite Authentic, despite even his own self-proclaimed plastic exterior. It is as though what we see through Warhol’s camera lens is somehow realer than real, and at times almost uncomfortably so.

Two particular moments from Warhol’s oeuvre serve as proof of this status of a filmic work of art becoming uncomfortably real – as if they are almost too Authentic to handle, thus maintaining the placement of these films as truly Authentic experiences. During one of the “Confession” sequences of Chelsea Girls, in which the Factory mainstay Ondine (or Pope Ondine) shoots up methadrine and hears the confession of a string of Warhol’s starlets, Ondine loses his temper upon his confessor’s suggestion that she “can’t confess to you because you’re such a phony. I’m not trying to be anyone” (Koch, 95). Losing his temper, Ondine thrashes the poor girl until she runs crying from the set. In these moments, Ondine breaks through the veil of film and unleashes a truly terrifying temper tantrum – despite his confinement to the screen, one almost expects him to jump out of the frame and slap us around too. As Koch comments on the scene:
“The moment of truth begins to function at precisely the moment the cowering girl’s face comes to the realization that this is not, after all, just a movie; at the moment when, understandably enough, the presence of the camera ceases to have any importance to her and she re-asserts herself, eyes closed: ‘Stop it. Stop it. Don’t touch me.’ Poor child, she was ill-equipped for her job. Trying to be ironic, trying to be authentic, she could do neither, and she found herself in big trouble instead. For that particular game, she had sat down at a table with pros” (Koch, 96).

Through daring to suggest that what was unfolding in front of the camera was not Authentic, this nameless star-hopeful was soundly thrashed for daring to suggest anything otherwise. Unsurprisingly, she was never seen again, and in Koch’s book is never even named.

Another infamous chapter from Warhol’s filmography is the 1964 35-minute short film Blow-Job, an un-moving close-up of a Manhattan hustler receiving the titular gift out-of-frame. Koch suggests “the appreciation of how a reality alternate to the thing seen is constructing itself and falling away in the mind as we pass through the charade of observing, of witnessing. The work may be cryptic, introverted, unresponsive, absurd. It does not matter: Its whole life resides in the displaced responses it provokes” (Koch, 49). Again, Warhol is hitting at things realer than real – without showing us what we’ve all tuned in to see, we as viewers are forced to create our own Authentic vision of the event. With Blow-Job, Warhol has skirted around full display of the Authentic, and created a version far more powerful.

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In the words of André Bazin, “Although the final result may reflect something of his personality, this does not play the same role as is played by that of the painter. All the arts are based on the presence of man, only photography derives an advantage of his absence. Photography affects us like a phenomenon in nature, like a flower or a snowflake whose vegetable or earthly origins are an inseparable part of their beauty” (Bazin, 162). The notion of watching an original print of a work of film art is enough to convince us that we’re experiencing something of the utmost Authenticity – regardless of whether or not its construction has from start to finish been due solely to the activity of machines.

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Bob Dylan’s May 17th, 1966 show in Manchester, UK’s Free Trade Hall is arguably the most famous live concert recording in history. While the performance itself is blistering, notable as a high-point of one of Dylan’s most documented tours – the controversial period when “Dylan went electric,” often touted as no less than the breaking-through point of a new era of popular music – the definitive moment comes not during one of the set’s songs but instead from an audience member’s perfectly timed heckling. With his single shout of, “Judas,” 20-year-old Keith Butler entered into rock & roll history – a moment endlessly written about, and even considered by some as, “the watershed moment in Dylan’s career” (Nelson). Dylan’s response was two-fold: first, into the mic, a proclamation of “I don’t believe you – you’re a liar,” and then, off-mic to his backing players The Hawks (soon to become The Band), “play it fucking loud,” breaking into what still stands as the definitive performance of ‘Like a Rolling Stone’.

But what Butler’s intent wasn’t simply to annoy – “Can you imagine what it’s like as a 20-year-old kid? You were just crushed. I was totally embarrassed when he shouted back,” he recalled in 1998 (Nelson). Like many in the audience, he felt alienated by Dylan’s new direction – a move away from the pure folk music that made him famous. “We were just really disappointed. […] That wasn’t the Bob Dylan we’d been used to listening to” (ibid). The night at the Manchester Free Trade Hall was one following several instances in which the previously-worshiped Dylan was met with boos, and came a year after a near-mythical appearance at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival during which it’s long been rumoured (albeit unproven) that folk traditionalist Pete Seeger attempted to cut the power cables with an axe. What those early “Dylan’s gone electric” audiences were searching for was the previous connection they experienced with simply a man and his guitar. The additional layers of instrumentation (and from many reports, bad sound that drowned out the lyrics) created the sensation of separation from what was previously considered an Authentic art form, and an Authentic artist-audience relationship.

When it comes to our relationships with the Authentic in terms of popular music, our sole method of true connection is via live performance. The tales of Dylan’s tumultuous transition from folk artist into electric rocker has provided fodder for countless books and in many ways forms one of the primary backbones of rock & roll. While Dylan’s audiences recoiled from the noise in 1965 and 1966, other audiences embraced an altogether different experience at a series of shows presented by Andy Warhol and The Velvet Underground, named the Exploding Plastic Inevitable. Featuring the first major rock light show (composed of strobes, large mirror balls, spotlights, and superimposed projections of Warhol’s films), along with the earsplitting volumes of the Velvets, the end result was equal parts confusing, angering, and hypnotic. Quoted in Richie Unterberger’s White Light/White Heat: The Velvet Underground Day-by-Day, Chicagoan Susan Pile recalls the overwhelming effect of the show as, “Utterly cool. The experience of dancing with all of the strobe lights, the other colored lights, the film in a very small space was just transcendent. We just couldn’t stop coming back for more. We were addicted; I think we went every night” (Unterberger, 103).

Between Dylan’s transitional struggles and the Velvets’ explorations with the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, the earliest forms of the modern rock concert take shape. While both groups experienced confrontational audiences (the Velvets just as often cleared rooms as filled them), these moments of change in how rock music is presented remain influential and still copied. In many ways ahead of their time (the sound systems available at this point in the 1960s were largely incapable of handling such volumes – something also experienced by the Beatles, drowned out by screams at their own concerts), these formative examples formed the basis of what we understand as the Authentic in popular music. Only when we’re in the same room, blinded by the lights, the artists on-stage in front of us, are we experiencing the Authentic musician (lip-synched pop starlets be damned). While these earliest reports suggest mass confusion – and in many cases, a lack of enjoyment due to over-stimulation – our present experience with live music performance is one formed by decades of what can be considered training and conditioning. The earliest film audiences in Paris were noted to scream or even faint at the sight of the Lumiere Brothers’ approaching train on the screen, and similarly the rock concert was also an innovation requiring some adaptation on the audience’s part.

It’s fitting then that bootlegged live recordings would take such a prominent place in music collections – albeit one that has changed drastically in just the last decade. In an article published on the Canadian Recording Industry Association’s website, the seizure of hundreds of live bootlegs by the RCMP in 2004 is described as a success for the working Canadian musician. Quoted in the article, Jann Arden goes so far as to claim, “Touring is an incredibly important part of my career as a singer/songwriter – it’s my job and how I connect with people […] I’ve spent years creating my show and relationships with the fans […] The illegal recording and distribution of live concerts is theft on many levels. Something special was taken from me and my audience” {Allman). Oddly left out of Arden’s thinking circa 2004, however, is the reasonable consideration that the only people interested in these products would be her most ardent supporters. There’s an element of “true fandom” that is measured in how far one goes beyond what is officially commercially available by an artist – besides the status of relationship with an artist this sort of elevated collection promotes, the rabid appetite for live bootlegs furthers the suggestion that our primary Authentic relationship with a recording artist is through a live performance. While a bootlegged CD, however, is but a digital copy of a past event, we can relate to the other audience members present and engage with the event vicariously in a way that presents to us a version of the Authentic that, in some cases (given how many “live” albums are added to, edited, or re-mixed in the studio before release), might even be better than the real thing. Much like Bazin’s comparisons between painting and photography, we invest a deeper belief in these recordings because they are presented to us as a live document, whether or not what we hear is falsely adjusted.

While the 2004 attitude towards bootlegged live recordings was one of fearful disdain, many artists have since come to realize the importance in forming a stronger bond with their fanbase by allowing, and often promoting, the taping and digital dissemination of their live performances. The Smashing Pumpkins’ profile page at the massive Archive.org website (featuring thousands upon thousands of live recordings) features an official sanction from the band. Dated June 2007, the Pumpkins’ Taping Policy reads, “Everyone is welcome to tape at our shows in whatever capacity they see fit […] Anyone is welcome and invited to document using audio, video, or picture cameras (cell phones are welcome)” (Archive.org). Furthermore, “All Smashing Pumpkins live recordings are allowed to be uploaded to archive.org regardless of when the date of performance is (i.e. ALL shows are OK, not just the new 2007 performances)” (ibid). What was earlier considered a threat by the working musician is now considered a powerful promotional tool. Through the opening up of these policies, those of us searching for a real connection with the art we consume and listen to are presented with what appears to present a direct link to the Authentic. One can argue about the alienating effect of horrible sound quality and .mp3 degradation, yet the primary response to a bootleg recording when consumed by a fan is one of deeper connection to the artist themselves – ironically, the worse the sound quality, the closer we feel to the bands responsible. Part fan-friendly document, and part rite of passage (only a true fan would struggle through the murk that is an early live recording of the Velvets, for example), I believe our mass embrace of live recordings to act as proof of our search for a connection with an Authentic above and beyond the polished studio sheen of an album. It’s not the same as being there, but it’s just like it. Sometimes, in our search for the Authentic, that’s enough.

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Delmore Schwartz’s 1937 short story In Dreams Begin Responsibilities imagines a situation in which Schwartz’s 1909 narrator watches a film of his parents’ courtship. In a darkened theatre, he watches as his father arrives at his mother’s house, meets her parents, and takes her out to Coney Island. Mid-way, Schwartz declares, “I watch […] with thirsty interest, like a child who wants to maintain his sulk although offered the bribe of candy” (Schwartz, 391). We absorb art similarly, our “sulk” that of looking for an Authentic connection and relationship with the works in front of us, yet forever masked by the candy dangled in front of our eyes. By the end of the imagined film, Schwartz’s narrator is shouting so loudly at the screen – so convinced of its Authenticity – that he is escorted from the theatre. Much like our own experiences – our truest, deepest, and most life-altering experiences with mechanically re-produced works of film and music for which there is no real true Original within our grasp – what remains of utmost importance is that believed relationship between ourselves and the artwork in question (and we hear echoes here of Borges’ preference for original language films above all other versions).

Through attempting to connect with duplicated music and inherently-reproduced film, I can only conclude that it’s our definitions of what counts as an Authentic through which we can form these bonds. It’s a world away from Benjamin, no doubt, yet one – despite its simplicity – that already makes this overloaded content-driven world seem so much easier to approach.

W O R K S C I T E D & R E F E R E N C E D

Allman, Catherine. “Police Seize ‘Bootleg’ Rock Concerts.” Canadian Recording Industry Association. N.p., 8 July 2004. Web. 23 Feb. 2010. .

Bazin, André. “The Ontology of The Photographic Image.” Film Theory & Criticism. Ed. Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen. 7th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. 159-63. Print.

Benjamin, Walter. “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” Marxists Internet Archive. Ed. Andy Blunden. N.p., Feb. 2005. Web. 5 Feb. 2010. .

Borges, Jorge Luis. “On Dubbing.” Movies. Ed. Gilbert Adair. London: Penguin, 1999. 216-17. Print.

Chandler, Marisa. “The Passion of Joan of Arc.” GEIST: Fact & Fiction Made in Canada. Ed. Mary Schendlinger. N.p., 30 Jan. 2010. Web. 12 Feb. 2010. .

Curran, Peggy. “Unfulfilled Promise: Remake of Welles’s Legendary Magnificent Ambersons Rights No Wrongs.” The Gazette 12 Jan. 2002 [Montreal, Que.] , final ed.: F7. Microfilm.

Dreyer, Carl Theodor. “Realized Mysticism in The Passion of Joan of Arc.” The Criterion Collection: Online Cinematheque. N.p., 8 Nov. 1999. The Current. Web. 2 Mar. 2010. .

Dylan, Bob. No Direction Home. Adapt. Keith Butler. 2005. Paramount, 2005. 1th ed. Disc 1. DVD-ROM.

Kamp, David. “Magnificent Obsession.” Vanity Fair Jan. 2002. Web. 2 Feb. 2010. .

Kershaw, Andy. “How I found the man who shouted ‘Judas’.” The Independent. N.p., 23 Sept. 2005. Web. 13 Mar. 2010. .

Koch, Stephen. Stargazer: Andy Warhol’s World and His Films. 2nd ed. New York: Praeger, 1974. Print.

Nelson, Chris. “Fan Who Called Dylan ‘Judas’ Breaks 33 Years Of Silence.” SonicYouth.com / Lee Ranaldo’s Dotsonics Site. Ed. Lee Ranaldo. N.p., 1998. Web. 12 Feb. 2010. .

Quinto, Frank. Archive.org. N.p., 23 June 2007. Web. 1 Mar. 2010. .

Schwartz, Delmore. “In Dreams Begin Responsibilities.” Movies. Ed. Gilbert Adair. London: Penguin, 1999. 386-93. Print.

Unterberger, Richie. White Light/White Heat: The Velvet Underground Day-by-Day. London: Jawbone Press, 2009.

Ward, Ossian. “Banksy Interview.” Time Out London. N.p., 1 Mar. 2010. Web. 12 Mar. 2010. .

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