Something odd has happened to Holbein’s Ambassadors at the National Gallery in London. The visitor does not immediately know how to describe her malaise. The painting is completely flat; its colors bright but somewhat garish; the shape of every object is still there but slightly exaggerated; she wonders what has happened to this favorite painting of hers. “That’s it,” she mutters, “The painting has lost its depth; the fluid dynamics of the paint has gone. It is just a surface now.” But, what does this surface look like? The visitor looks around, puzzled, and, then, the answer dawns on her: it resembles almost exactly the poster she bought several years ago at the Gallery bookshop, and that still hangs in her study at home. Only the dimension differs.
Latour, Bruno, and Adam Lowe. “The Migration of the Aura – or How to Explore the Original Through Its Facsimiles.” In Switching Codes. Thinking Through Digital Technology in the Humanities and the Arts, edited by Thomas Bartscherer and Roderick Coover, 275-297. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2011.