Aesthetica Magazine Issue 32

December / January 2010

The past two years have rocked the art world. It has been a time for evaluation and careful consideration. We have started to take stock, look at our value systems and put things into perspective. This has had a profound effect on the work that we are producing today. In some respects, bringing it full circle; fuelling the debate about conceptual art, tackling people’s expectations, which can only lead to further innovation.

It has been a decade to remember, especially related to the developments in technology. We’ve become so co-dependent, always contactable and never alone. One of the largest travesties of this new phenomenon is the disappearance of silence, when you have your phone-come-music-personal-planner-entertainment-guide-to-life; in fact it’s social overload.

This issue of Aesthetica explores many of these topics, from the V&A’s major exhibition Decode: Digital Design Sensations to the Lyon Biennale. Inside there’s also a report on Barbara Kruger’s retrospective, Paste Up. Finally, a look at the imagination of Tim Burton, with his show at MoMA including 700 images of the filmmaker’s work.

In film, we have a chat with Yojiro Takita on his Oscar-winning film Departures and part one of our step-by-step guide to becoming an animator. While in music, there’s an examination into the creative strategies that bands employ to get ahead today, and a catch up with A.A. Bondy on his new album. Also a preview of I am Yusuf and This Is My Brother, which opens at the Young Vic this winter, and to conclude, an interview with Simon Robson and an extract from the fantastic new book Diamond Star Halo by Tiffany Murray. This issue takes a closer look at the creative exploration of today’s most exciting artists.

Tiffany Murray

In conversation with Tiffany Murray.

Art in the Computer Age

New forms transcend the boundaries of the organic and the artificial, addressing unique issues of intimacy and interaction in the computer age.

The Spectacle of the Everyday

With 70 artists and respected curator Hou Hanru at the helm, Biennale de Lyon’s 10th show has enough art and energy to connect to a global audience.

A Fusion of Text & Images

With Barbara Kruger showcasing her early work at Sprüth Magers, questions about the cultures of consumerism have rarely been so incisive or timely.

The Imagination of Tim Burton at MoMA

A massive retrospective bringing together hundreds of artworks and film-related objects tracing the trajectory of Tim Burton’s creative imagination.

The Velvet Underground

It’s no secret The Velvet Underground, Lou Reed, Nico and Andy Warhol set the stage for a moment in cultural history that has outlived the decades.

The Empire Strikes Back

To coincide with a major exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery and acting as a follow-up to the Serpentine’s Indian Highway, The Empire Strikes Back looks at the face of con­temporary Indian art today.

The Blue Manuscript

Al Khemir’s novel weaves archaeology, modernity and East/West dialogue around the search for a unique 10th century rendering of the Qur’an.

The Tin Drum

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Günter Grass’ gloriously unforgettable novel, The Tin Drum, Breon Mitchell presents a new translation of this classic.

Madame Verona Comes Down the Hill

A charming novel, by one of The Netherlands’ rising stars, Madame Verona Comes Down the Hill is a timeless novel about love, loss and village life.


Catherine Millet’s second novel, Jealousy, is a lucid, astute and incredibly ac­curate analysis of human emotions.

Emotional Journeys into the Self: Simon Robson

Exploring the dichotomy between exterior and interior lives, Catch examines the notions of identity and vulnerability in a claustrophobic world.

Love & Loss in Palestine

Amir Nizar Zuabi’s new play explores what it means to live through a historical event, emphasising the importance of the personal over the political.

The Twilight Sad

The new album from The Twilight Sad is shadowy and tumultuous and won’t disappoint fans of its predecessor. The lyrics are unsettling, dark and personal.

Laura Gibson

Laura Gibson’s first full-length UK album is immediately arresting. Her beautiful musings on love, life and death are simple layers of guitar picking and soft vocals.

Ólöf Arnalds

Although us English-speakers are not accustomed to listening to words we can’t understand, Arnalds transcends that barrier through captivating lullabies.

Asobi Seksu

This album finds Asobi Seksu’s core duo – vocalist Yuki Chikudate and guitarist James Hanna offering a fresh take on songs spanning the band’s career with new acoustic arrangements.

First Aid Kit

Since their Drunken Trees EP was released back in February, Klara and Johanna Söderberg have gone from being relatively unknown Swedish teenagers to the darlings of this year’s festivals.

The Postmarks

Often with a cinematic feel encompassing classic soul harmonies, brass horns and sultry vocals, Memoirs At the End of the World is a divine album.

Unleashing Inner Demons

A.A. Bondy has weathered several band line-ups and genres before finally settling into his bones with When the Devil’s Loose.