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Exhibition catalogue. Text by Claire Lehmann.

“In the traditional matrix of an original and a copy, proximity to the touch of the maker’s hand is everything. The assumption here is that an original work—imbued directly with the value of its maker’s labor—accumulates value, while a copy of the work is bereft of its singular emanations, though it may serve as a vehicle to distribute its ideas. Or, to leave aside economic terms and look to philosophical ones, at one time it was widely held that originary Form was ideal, transcendent, and celestial, whereas the copy (its terrestrial version) must be limited, even degraded, by its material nature. Presently, we tend to think of this binary in reverse: an immaterial copy derived from existing form—digital pixels or coded information calculated from material instantiation—persists untainted, capable of generating nearly identical physical manifestations. Such dematerialization of information has changed the ease with which certain types of copies can be made; even as Walter Benjamin famously mourned mechanical reproduction’s leaching away of aura, he also recognized the emancipatory potential of such technologies, particularly the “revolutionary use value” that widely distributed images might possess.“

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