Aesthetica Magazine Issue 88

It is an extraordinary moment in time. We are dealing with the disruptive impact of politics and the influence of new technologies on our lives. Together, they have created an undertow, which is so powerful that many of us are swept away by it. We have everything, but fundamentally we’ve lost something. I know all generations recall the past through rose tinted glasses, but I feel that we’re standing on the cliff’s edge. Right now, we are experiencing human evolution. By this, I don’t mean we’re about to grow new limbs, but we are emotionally changing. Social norms are different than they were 10 and even 20 years ago. I am different.

This issue is a celebration of the human spirit. It provides a moment of hope amongst the chaos of the everyday world. Desert X is an innovative biennial in the tradition of American Land Art. It brings the movement into the 21st century with antisocial robots and a film installation that recalls the very first site of mass oil discovery. It’s a piece that demands your attention and asks you to reflect upon the effects of fossil fuels and the imperative need for change. We can no longer talk about these things; we must act. This year’s Diffusion Festival in Cardiff uses the theme of Sound + Vision to explore national identity, asking key questions about what “home” really means. This resonates with me because I am not British-born, but have spent 17 years living in the UK. These years comprise my entire adult life and I think constantly about what this signifies. Meanwhile, a new publication entitled New Architecture Los Angeles surveys the impact of LA’s experimental design, looking at how sustainable projects are leading a global architectural zeitgeist. We also highlight this year’s Salone del Mobile, considering projects from cutting-edge lighting brands.

In photography we soak up the vast range of styles on the circuit today. From structural and documentary, to fine art, conceptual and fashion, we look at a myriad of ideas and genres. LM Chabot, Michael McCluskey, Christophe Barneau, Massimo Colonna, Charlotte Lapalus, Tropico Photo and Nadine Rovner are amongst the names that present new possibilities for image-making. They will ignite your creativity.

Land of Shadows

Born and based in the American Midwest, Michael McCluskey considers truth in unexplored places, uncovering concealed layers of meaning.

Forging Connections

The Cardiff-based festival returns for its fourth edition, looking at how, in contemporary visual culture, images come together with sound.

Lighting for Tomorrow

Cutting-edge lighting brands engage with a number of innovative trends; low-impact and responsibly-sourced collections play with audience perception.

Colourful Movements

Tropico Photo unites the minds of Forrest Aguar and Michelle Norris, photographers who create works with bold shapes and compelling colours.

Rendering New Worlds

Fleshed out with warm, earthy tones, each of Christophe Barneau’s pictures casts a warm filter over virtual interiors and their items.

A Sense of Opulence

Pulled together by a deep green background, LM Chabot’s images demonstrate indulgence and finesse – from large concepts to minute details.

A Global Awakening

Evidence for climate change is overwhelming, from shrinking ice sheets to rising temperatures. Desert X places art at the centre of these discussions.

Enticing Compositions

Charlotte Lapalus is eager to connect to audiences through warm, inviting images, often working to bring the female experience to the foreground.

Utopian Framework

Massimo Colonna’s compositions offer a journey into a pastel utopia. Balls, balloons, plastic bags and paper planes are transfixed in moments of stillness.

Hidden Narratives

Nadine Rovner’s carefully staged, richly textured series No Vacancy tows a line between expectation and reality, creating a sense of unease.

Beyond Categorisation

California’s largest city has earned a reputation as a design epicentre, offering ecologically responsible buildings that are a test bed for the future.