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As scholars, as readers, as consumers of art, music and every kind of culture, we crave the original: the text as it left the author’s hand, the music as it was first performed, the painting in its unrestored state. But we live in the great age of reproduction — and not just reproduction, but remediation, alteration, improvement. The digital turn has poured fuel upon this bonfire of meanings, as we copy, distort, and mash-up at will. What then of authenticity? If we can no longer use the original as the touchstone, to what should we anchor our
This talk (given in March 2016, as the second Bateman lecture) explores these issues by way of Umberto Eco, Borges, the Greek New Testament, the US constitution, the Mona Lisa and -- most of all -- the life and works of Ern Malley.