Wednesday, October 1, 2008
The Aura of Objects in the Industrial Age
I was looking for cool iPhone things and found GelaSkins Inc. They have the coolest phone guards in the world, and I want one but can't decide which one is the best. They also have artistic protection for Blackberries and Razrs and every other phone you have.
I like the idea of decking out things like people do with hot rods. I wish I had some kind of laser etching on my laptop. Something as permanent as a tattoo, you know? You can't remove laser etching, you just have to learn to live with it until your laptop dies. But laptops never die. I wish more people got their laptops and phones altered for coolness and fashion or for a statement against the man.
I think that people, if they don't have any tattoos, should make a point about getting some scars. Scars and tattoos are important markers of where we have been. They give us little reminders that we have lived and are still living. They are stories we take with us wherever we go. People who don't have any scars or tattoos might be aliens. . . or robots.
Walter Benjamin talked a lot about the aura of objects. He raised doubts about the existence of such an aura in an age of mass-produced goods. Things that are made identically by the million are kind of hard to make unique, to make one's own. I think it's why we value signed books and hand-made things. A telephone is hard to give an aura to. GelaSkins has so many artists making their skins, I think they make it a little easier. Take that Benjamin!