[T]he earliest art works originated in the service of a ritual—first magical, then the religious kind…. [T]he unique value of the ‘authentic’ work has its basis in ritual…. [F]or the first time in world history, mechanical reproduction emancipates the work of art from its parasitical dependence on ritual. From a photographic negative, for example, one can make any number of prints; to ask for the ‘authentic’ print makes no sense. But the instant the criterion of authenticity ceases to be applicable to artistic production, the total function of art is reversed. Instead of being based on ritual, it begins to be based on another practice—politics.
— Walter Benjamin (via nicholasballesteros)