Aesthetica Magazine Issue 72

August/September 2016

A word that keeps cropping up everywhere is “post.” Recently I’ve come across post-digital, post-internet, post-fashion, post-human, post-advertising and pretty much everything in between. But I really don’t think that we’re post-digital. I think “post” had a different meaning in the early days of postmodernist thought. The internet and technology still define our lives. Back in June with Brexit, I was glued to my phone and constantly checking the news. Is the UK post-Europe? I promised myself that this editor’s note wouldn’t be about the EU referendum. We’ve all spoken about it to death, but the potential degree and level of change opens up a chasm of uncertainty larger than anything that I’ve known before.

Much of this issue is about the relationship between our everyday lives and wider political forces. We start with the Venice Architecture Biennale, examining themes of Utopia through a greater understanding of our dystopian state, from the migrant crisis and the environment to sustainability and political systems. New Romance, a collaboration between MCA Sydney and MMCA Seoul, looks at the role humanity plays in the future of the Earth. It’s a theme recently explored by other major institutions, but this survey directly interrogates what it means to be human. Mode in Flux picks up on this, exploring fashion’s role in a post-recession landscape, through wearable technology, interactivity and sustainability.

In photography, these ideas are continued through Michael Wolf’s depiction of sprawling skyscrapers in Hong Kong whilst Vittorio Ciccarelli presents an urban atmosphere both full and devoid of human interaction. Gabriel Isak’s body of work acts as a metaphor for loneliness and hope. We have also collaborated with London College of Communication to bring you the third instalment of The Next Generation, which surveys new practitioners who are responding to uncapped technological possibilities in an age of social, political and economic uncertainty. These young photographers are ones to watch in the future. Finally and fittingly, Rebecca Louise Law offers the last words on finding beauty in decay.

Unified Construction

The 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale redefines architecture in the face of contemporary concerns as a socially and politically engaged practice.

Balanced Compositions

Pastel flowers, vintage cars and minimalist architecture provide the backdrop for Bond’s lustrous depiction of contemporary fashion.

Illusory Projections

Gabriel Isak’s pastel palettes of mist-covered skies and boundless oceans are disturbed by bold, standardised silhouettes on figurative journeys.

Uncanny Environment

Casting a raw depiction of the urban climate, Frédéric Delangle’s series demonstrate an intimate understanding of every environment he inhabits.

Visual Language

Contemporary theatre company Vanishing Point experiments with the potential of the actor at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival.

Fictitious Landscapes

Inaugurating this September, a prescient international event offers a solution to one of the greatest design deficiencies of the English capital.

Vacant Urbanisation

Drainpipes and concrete cohere with clean lines, and compositions disappear into a clear-blue sky that references the enhanced nature of advertisements.

Cultural Anonymity

Michael Wolf documents the vernacular culture of the modern metropolis. Architecture of Density is a collection of colossal structures in Hong Kong.

Evolving Civilisations

Taking its title from a 1985 dystopian novel, New Romance displays technologically advanced artworks and reframes the human condition.

Shifting Philosophies

Weaving sustainability with multi-functionality, Mode in Flux presents a vision for fashion’s future within an unstable environmental landscape.

Enticing Sequences

Benoit Paillé’s series is an exploration into narratives under darkness. Illuminated windows are suggestive, whilst strangers are caught in unexplained affairs.