Aesthetica Magazine Issue 76

April / May 2017

I’ve been consumed with the news. Following the plight of the US with an autocrat as president, Brexit and the realisation of how much big data is influencing society and shifting trends, it makes 1984, Fahrenheit 451 and Brave New World seem all too relevant. It’s a stark new reality and one that I feel is carving out how this century will operate. We all fear World War III, some say it’s already happening online – but I’m not sure about that. The notion of post-truth is seeming more likely every day. Generally, I’m a positive, upbeat and resilient person, but it is a troubling time. These worries are also playing out in today’s artwork. Artists have always held a mirror up to society and right now is the moment to look.

Inside this issue, we look at gender and identity politics through Girl on Girl: Art and Photography in the age of the Female Gaze, which features 40 female photographers who have all grown up in the age of the selfie and considers how they are exploring self-image and the impact this is having on contemporary art. Featured photographers include Juno Calypso and Isabel Wenzel amongst others. A key question asked is how does the female gaze change when being shot by a woman? We also unpick the fashion of South Africa through the lens of a developing infrastructure, cultural heritage and ethically sourced couture. New designers are making waves in a country which traditionally isn’t known for its fashion; what does this mean for other non-fashion capitals? Diffusion photography festival returns to Cardiff with the theme of revolution this year, and it couldn’t be a better time to survey this topic. We also look at three of our favourite architects for 2017 who are responding in innovative ways to the world in which we live.

In photography Feridun Akgüngör merges digital and reality to create reflective pieces whilst Thomas Wrede plays with perceptions, Hideaki Hamada continues the conversation around identity and nonconformity, Stuart Allen captures the beauty in the ordinary and Sally Ann & Emily May’s compositions reveal eeting moments. Finally, Martin Boyce offers the Last Words from his latest show.

Cultural Discoveries

Now in its third year, Photo London has become a powerhouse for international galleries to showcase the revolution of an ever-expanding medium.

Modern Perceptions

Girl on Girl, a new anthology of women photographers investigates the notion of portraiture and assumed perceptions in the 21st century.

Radical Expression

Darren Johnston’s monumental new show investigates spirituality, science and energy as a part of a larger commentary on human existence.

Visionary Frameworks

Three top architectural firms – BIG, MVRDV and Herzog & Demeuron – are reconfiguring our approaches to urban life and sustainability.

Societal Provocation

This third edition of Diffusion takes revolution as its central theme, utilising the medium of photography to document the repercussions of global revolts.

Idealised Construction

Influenced by how nature is presented in media, Thomas Wrede’s Real Landscapes reproduces topographies, spanning simulation and reality.

Urban Symmetry

Stuart Allen is driven by a passion to travel the world, taking a camera to document cities, offering the viewer an insight into unseen urban environments.

Collective Responsibility

Designers from South Africa are looking at new ways to innovate and create awareness about the country’s burgeoning fashion industry.

Formal Oppositions

Building up an intimate relationship between individuals and their surroundings, Hideaki Hamada creates a softly-list conceptual playground.