In "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction", Benjamin argues that original art works have unique historical baggage defined by the artist, the context, among other factors. He refers to this uniqueness as the "aura" of art works, and argues that this aura, or authority, does not carry to reproductions of art. In today's age of "mechanical reproduction", that is, machine-aided means of duplication, the value behind the process of art making is reduced, and art is less about crafting "auras" and more about socio-political significance, i.e., through exhibitions.
As with most other groups, our discussion was centered around Benjamin's concept of the aura. His opinion regarding massively reproduced art (i.e. multiple copies of the same painting) and of aura-less art forms (i.e. film) is grim and his reasoning behind it is quite clear. On one hand, we feel that the concept of aura still exists today, because original art works are still in high demand, and auctions generate enthusiasm from collectors to the mass media. We discussed how artists today run limited-edition sales of their art works. In this case, is the aura being divided up in equal parts, or is it gone altogether as soon as it's copied? Can a digitally-created art piece even have aura, if it's composed of 0s and 1s? And then we flipped the coin and we started questioning whether the concept of an art work's aura even has significance today. We see art arise in unpredictable ways, from mixing, mashing, sampling, computing, and other digitally-aided modes of creations, and in such an astounding volume, that we felt divided on the issue.
There exist artists who use algorithms (mathematics) to produce generative art. Can this type of art be said to carry an aura, say, if it is never reproduced and its secret recipe is never revealed?