A Historical Survey of Aesthetic Controversies and Artistic Appropriations of Liveness in Mass Media
The decision of Hans Flesch to transmit recorded vinyl instead of live music on the radio sparked heated discussion among many of his famous contemporaries in 1930’s (including Theodor Adorno). At this time Walter Benjamin focused on the concept of the decay of ‘aura’ and reflected on related issues. In the 1950s, ‘liveness’ was discovered by the mass-media as an artistic material for an aesthetic of ‘Indetermancy’. John Cage used the radio as a ‘live’ musical instrument in his compositions. In the 1960s, both Nam June Paik and Umberto Eco were devoted to the ‘liveness’ of television. “Today media-based live performances or online services (such as Second Life) mix ‘liveness’ with pre-generated and real-time elements. This gives the question ‘What is Live?’ a new relevance.”
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