In 1935, Walter Benjamin published The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, heralding a new epoch for art in the Industrial Age. The technological development of photography, in particular, radically shifted the possibilities for artistic production. Benjamin posed that the loss of the aura of the unique physical art object, along with the implementation of modern technical capacities, brought about substantial changes in how we approach and understand art. This new condition opened up the field of art to play and the exploration of industrial and mass-produced materials and to their reinterpretation. Since then, many artists have stripped the artwork of its claim to be unique, handmade, and sacred through the possibilities that a boundless choice of media has provided.
By the 1960s, consumer goods or their recognizable copies were everywhere to be seen in art. This creative liberty enabled artists to become critical commentators of culture, but it also led to the commodification of art. And while any object could be designated as art by the artist, this selection was dependent on the historical and contextual factors within the art world. Found objects as artworks contain many associations and can prompt diverse thoughts from the viewer, involving the public as active participants in decoding them. Using found materials including debris, toys, or talismans, artists activate personal and global cultural imaginaries to produce desire or nostalgia. Today, the nostalgic impulse is a trend that can be seen in artistic production and the move towards interdisciplinarity at large. 1