Aesthetica Magazine Issue 94

April / May 2020

It goes without saying that these are unprecedent times. However, there is something to remember, and we should hold onto it – the human spirit! Great art changes lives. It takes you to new places and introduces you to a wealth of ideas. This issue of Aesthetica is a true celebration of humankind’s resilience.
I set up this company with Dale Donley in 2003 when I was 23 years old. I am an entrepreneur – since starting to publish this magazine, the Aesthetica brand has grown to include an Art Prize, Creative Writing Award, Symposium and a BAFTA-Qualifying film festival. All of this has been such a rewarding experience. I am truly honoured to have spent so many years surrounded by so many creative people.
Independent publishing has faced many challenges with digital, but we bucked the trend with print, using platforms like Instagram to reach new readers. We’re a bit like vinyl – tactile and tangible – something that people still love. It’s true, we have seen so many things happen over the last few years. The world has changed irreovcably since the noughties. There have been major societal shifts including a recession and the invention of the iPhone, widespread streaming and global social media use, as well as the rise of AI, VR and AR. We started working on this issue when coronavirus was largely on the periphery, but it has become ever-present in our lives. It’s dramatically changing the course of history, but I know we will be strong. This issue is about pushing forward with ideas, together.
Inside, there is a selection of in-depth features and interviews, alongside some of the most exciting practitioners who are redefining the boundaries of contemporary art. Ekow Eshun’s latest project, Africa State of Mind, is a publication that showcases work by over 50 contemporary photographers from the continent and its wider diaspora. Vitra Design Museum presents Home Stories, which surveys the last 100 years of interior design – looking at how the house has evolved into a home. This issue is bursting with inspiration. We could all use a bit of joy at the moment, so I hope you find some here.

Vibrant Expression

Tropico Photo’s images – the collaborative work of Forrest Aguar and Michelle Norris – run with the idea of block colours, fluid dots, circles and lines.

Interior Evolution

A monumental show spans the last century of design, examining changing interiors and what they indicate about how society lives, works and consumes.

Creating A Platform

New European photographers are part of a vital reconstruction of visual narratives, exploring themes of overconsumption, surveillance and liberation.

Identity and Exchange

Ekow Eshun’s project offers a kaleidoscopic view of Africa, foregrounding over 50 contemporary photographers from the continent and its diaspora.

Surreal Locations

A dreamlike collaboration project with creative director Daphne Westland, spatial designers Visual Citizens and photographer Carlfried Verwaayen.

A Sense of Community

Michael Oliver Love’s photographs provide an outburst of colour, texture and energy, enhancing one another as a celebration of movement.

States of Introspection

Gabriel Isak taps into the complex pool of ideas and philosophies, digging into the subconscious through dreamscapes that are rich in symbolism.

The Role of Activism

What does it mean to be an activist? How can we use social media? In the age of Instagram, Houston Center for Photography considers visual identities.

Journey into Midnight

Liam Wong’s photographs are deeply influenced by the visual identities of video games, utilising vibrant colours, open landscapes and cyberpunk imagery.

Pairing and Accents

Romain Laprade captures rolling hills, angular buildings and languid portraits, underpinned by complementary colours and low passing light.

Organic Architecture

Design is systematic and methodical; it is creative and collaborative. Studio Gang considers the kinds of buildings we need for the near-future.