From Google to Gucci


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Elizabeth-Burton Jones
“From Google to Gucci”
Week 9
I haven’t independently studied the Google Art gallery. Therefore, as soon as I opened the page, I was shocked by the image that appeared on my screen. The image was of a statue, but the image was distorted by the appearance of a square in the center of the image. This square truly confused me for a second, because I didn’t know what to expect from the website.Therefore, I decided to work an image that I have already seen. I was initially skeptical of archived images simply because I am sometimes skeptical of the quality finding it’s origin in the digital world.

My first concern was the loss of depth and detail within the image. So, I sifted through various images and encountered the “Birth of Venus”. I know this image very well and I have seen it in the Uffizi Museum. I clicked on the zoom function and I was very impressed with the quality.

In addition, I am always in search of the residue of realness when it comes to digitization, so I chose to look at a statue. After searching the webpage, I found “Bronze Fountainhead” this was interesting because when I used the zoom feature, I could notice the “wear and tear” of the statue, but I didn’t get that feeling of grit and age.Be that as it may, I believe that this website is a wonderful tool for all students and it grants intimate access to pieces of art that are thousands of miles away. 

Uncanny Valley
But, why am I looking for the “true grit”? What does my stance mean? I guess to look at my stance of the “uncanny valley-ness” of the digital reproduction, I should not be alarmed. The Walter Benjamin reading mentions that replicas were always made (252). This is very true, whether we are assessing Gucci fashion bags or the “Starry Night” everything has been reproduced and at a mass rate.


 

 

 

 

Another example could be the Marcus Aurelius statue in Rome. There are two versions. one version is outside in a piazza and another is placed inside for restoration. I am bringing this statue up because there is an obvious difference between the real and the replica. 

But what is wrong with the digital reproduction? As mentioned before, digital reproductions have so many positive aspects especially when it comes to filling a void  and granting intimate access to art. I guess the answer is “the here and now” (253). As Benjamin mentions, the “here and now” are often missing from the reproduced pieces of art. This can be said for all types of replications from music to statues. The lack of “here and now” breeds many questions. Therefore the lack of the “here and now” truly makes a difference, but one difference that is essential to the understanding of a piece of art. As alluded by Benjamin, the “here and now” can be age and “wear and tear”. The “here and now” adds more substance to something that is real. The “here and now” distinguishes the replica from the original.

References:

http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/irvinem/theory/Benjamin-rev-new.pdf
http://www.googleartproject.com/collection/the-museum-of-islamic-art-qatar/artwork/bronze-fountainhead-unknown-spain-10th-century/806470/
http://www.googleartproject.com/collection/uffizi-gallery/artwork/the-birth-of-venus-botticelli-sandro-botticelli/331474/#
http://www.googleartproject.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equestrian_Statue_of_Marcus_Aurelius