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When Does the Copy Become an Original? - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
When Does the Copy Become an Original?
I purchased this album in the spring of 1988, my second semster as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley. I listened to it a lot over the summer, most notably in Rehobeth, Delaware with my friend Sandy, her then-boyfriend and eventual internet pioneer and Bay Area nightclub empresario Jamie Zawinski, and her ex-boyfriend Brian. It made me melancholy for my failed relationship back in Berkeley. But I was sort of into feeling melancholy back then, so the music fit my mood.

When I returned to school in August, Annalee and I got back together. And, at some later date during that second and final year of our coupledom, she affixed that piece of red tape to the CD case. I think it matters that when I listen to this album, I'm still hearing the exact same CD I heard back then. I could buy another, of course. I have all the songs from Substance on other records. For all that, even knowing that the every copy of "Digital" surely sounds the same, I perceive a difference between hearing it on my "original" CD and, say, the boxed set. What does that say about the work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction?

Tags: , , , ,
Current Location: 85704
Mode: restless
Muse: a memory of Caetono Veloso, oddly

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Comments
From: jsterne Date: April 14th, 2006 01:36 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

it says

that commodity fetishism isn't rooted in how the object works or even in its physicality but rather in what it *does*.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: April 14th, 2006 02:58 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: it says

I would agree. But what's the "it," then? I think the pronoun itself is part of the problem.
From: jsterne Date: April 14th, 2006 03:27 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

it

I was thinking "it" referred to the object.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: April 14th, 2006 04:20 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: it

Naturally. What I meant was that the pronoun "it" exacerbates a confusion already built into that use of "the object," namely the difficulty of determining whether it refers to something singular or not. Most of the time, when people write about a cultural artifact, they have a copy in mind.
hollsterhambone From: hollsterhambone Date: April 14th, 2006 09:15 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Regarding "In mind."

The first time I read Baudrillard was for a social theory course I took at UK. I read Simulacra and Simulation and devoured it. Really was my thing. I got so excited that I was able to pipe up in class about it (unusual for me because the class was made up of five professors and five graduate students, and I was the only MA student there). So, I was excited anough to say something and not worry about sounding dumb.

I was trying entertain the notion that "simulacra" is only a term that can be applied by the viewer--it is not universal. Only the perspective of the viewer can make something a copy of no original.

Sometimes I think that CDs function, for me, like photographs. I don't have a lot of photographs, but when I pick up my copy of New Order's Republic I remember it being the first CD I played in my first car when I bought a CD player with my first few paychecks installed by my friend Clay. The object I hold in my hands was there.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: April 15th, 2006 04:32 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Copies matter. Copies have materiality. We see that in the history of the ancient bronzes, woodblock prints, etchings and lithographs Benjamin discusses in the beginning of his essays. Over time, multiples become more and more singular. Survival has a way of doing that. It's almost like evolution.
From: marcegoodman Date: April 15th, 2006 02:30 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Hey Charlie, that previous comment was from me. Feel free to attribute it.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: April 15th, 2006 04:23 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
The way to do that is to copy the text into your clipboard and make a new comment, then delete this one.

But you have to do it. Then I'll reply.

Here's the text:
As soon as I saw the photo, I thought JS might have had something to do with this, knowing his fondness for such puns. A confession: I once invoked "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" without actually having read it myself in a graduate seminar on Kierkegaard. My hope was that a fellow student who I suspected had read it would be able to pick up the thread and carry it forward. This did not happen and my resulting mortification led to a hasty withdrawal from said course. "Work of Art" has one of those titles like "The Psychopathology of Everyday Life" that are so rich that it tempts sometime fools like myself to speak in their name.
Then I'll delete these comments. Awesome.
From: marcegoodman Date: April 15th, 2006 04:05 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Is this about a particular Caetano Veloso song? I love "A Foreign Sound", his covers record (sung in English), from a couple years back.
From: marcegoodman Date: April 16th, 2006 01:41 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
As soon as I saw the photo, I thought JS might have had something to do with this, knowing his fondness for such puns. A confession: I once invoked "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" without actually having read it myself in a graduate seminar on Kierkegaard. My hope was that a fellow student who I suspected had read it would be able to pick up the thread and carry it forward. This did not happen and my resulting mortification led to a hasty withdrawal from said course. "Work of Art" has one of those titles like "The Psychopathology of Everyday Life" that are so rich that it tempts sometime fools like myself to speak in their name.
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