The Migration of the Aura – or How to Explore the Original Through Its Facsimiles

The Migration of the Aura – or How to Explore the Original Through Its Facsimiles application/pdf icon

A chapter prepared for T. Bartscherer and R. Coover (editors) Switching Codes. Thinking Through Digital Technology in the Humanities and the Arts, University of Chicago Press pp. 275-297 (with Adam Lowe), 2011.
Republication in Pasquale Gagliardi The Miracle of Cana. The Originality of the Re-production, Cierre Edizioni, Caselle di Sommacampagna, pp. 105-116, 2011.


Following the marvelous example provided by the fac simile of Veronese’s Nozze di Cana in San Giorgio in Venice and constrasting this case of a good reproduction with the catastrophic restoration of Holbein’s Ambassadors, the paper explores the reason why common sense has so much difficulty with the notion that a fac simile may actually add new layers of originality to the original –contrary to the thesis so much popularized by Benjamin’s essay on mechanical reproduction. Contrary to this too famous essay, the paper argues that digital technologies have nothing « slavish » nor « mechanical » about them, and that fac similes allow to peel away the many layers composing the originality of a work of art –to the point when a painting too, algough so obviouvsly material, can be taken as an instance of performative art.


Italien / Italian
« La migrazione del aura -overo come esplorare l’originale attraverso le suo copie » par Davide Borsa in Materiali di Estetica Memoria e identità del luogo. Il progetto della memoria, Maggioli Editore, Milano, pp. 49-72, 2011.

« La migration de l'aura ou comment explorer un original par le biais de ses facsimilés ». Suivi d'une critique par Johanne Lamoureux « Autour de la migration de l'aura, le grand déménagement' ». In Intermédialités n° 17 Printemps 2011 pp. 173-205.

« Das Wandern der Aura – oder wie man das Original durch seine Faksimiles erforscht » » in Tristan Thielmann & Erhard Schüttpelz (editors) Akteur-Medien-Theorie, Transcript, Bielefeld, 2013 p-511-530.