final take home test critical issues .docx - Question#1 In...

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Question #1In the reading titled, Graphic Design in the mechanical ageEllen Lupton discusses the advancements of reproduction in art and more specifically the role photography played in the evolution of modern design. In the past letterpress and lithography were the primary means for printing and were heavily used for the reproduction of prints and images. However, the introduction of photography in 1839 changed the entire field of commercial printing and this new technology quickly became adopted for photomechanical reproductions. What made this medium so appealing to designers was its ability to reproduce shades of gray. Moreover, the tones of a picture could be translated into hundreds of black and white dots called halftones, which when viewed as a whole formed any desired image. Halftones allowed for the print of both typography and image simultaneously and proved cheaper to make than drawings. Lupton argues that photography was another tool utilized by designers to do what they have always been doing. Designers like Gustav Klucis embraced this technology into their work and used the halftone process in photography to create photomontages like his 1931 poster titled, The Reality of Our Program…Six Conditions for Victor. His work features a halftone image of Stalin marching alongside coal miners. The poster was widely celebrated for its innovative use of lithography and halftone reproduction to create a politically charged image and demonstrates the evolving look of modern design with the introduction of photography.Ellen Lupton’s book relates well to the ideas expressed in Walter Benjamin. Benjamin also discusses the effect of the changing technologies and focuses on how easy mechanical reproduction of images has impacted the way we appreciate and see the visual work of art and
film. Mechanical reproduction represented something new in history as photography itself helped, “freed the hand”. The relationship and perception of art changes as with the advancement of technology. Inventions like the letterpress, lithography and eventually photography, all resulted in the loss of aesthetic value, authenticity and the uniqueness of an original piece of art. In essence, he describes how the “aura” of a work which captured the unique and original quality of the artwork is lost through mechanical reproduction. Even if a reproduction is near perfect in its replication it is still detached from time, space and the uniqueexperience of viewing the original. With each new reproduction, the original object loses its authority and meaning in relation to all its existing copies. Marshall McLuhan once famously said the phrase, “The Medium is the message”. The “medium” he refers to is any new technology present which acts as “an extension of ourselves”.

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