Walter Benjamin, in his 1936 seminal essay, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, identified the aura as that which withers in the age of mechanical reproduction; the aura is the uniqueness of an individual work of art. This idea of a withering aura has a new challenge posed during a Philagrafika panel discussion on September 6th, about Megawords Magazine.
The artists who create Megawords magazine, use the commercial process of offset lithography, to create an art object. Yet, in this digital age, somehow a mechanically printed magazine has become an object of nostalgia, with a very strong aura created through the imagery, content and means of distribution.
Megawords is also telling a story of place. Steve Powers, one of the panelists, identified this image from Megawords, of Herr's potato chip bags as being a powerful image and part of the story that the artists are telling about Philadelphia-showing their version of Philadelphia.