We are evolving emotionally. This can’t be understated in terms of how this will affect humanity – and future generations. Politically, the world has been in turmoil since 2016: the year of the Referendum and Trump making his way into the White House. We’ve seen and heard things that shouldn’t be happening. This is the 21stcentury – a time of progress. We shouldn’t be seeing women’s rights surrounding their own bodies being revoked, and the climate crisis being denied. It’s supposed to be better now, right?
This issue of Aesthetica, titled Listen and Respond, invites readers to engage with the key themes of our times. The artists included are making sense of the world through new visual narratives. Doug Aitken’s latest installations explore the space between physical and virtual worlds, commenting on the ways that communication has changed. Sculptures fly over Massachusetts; mirrored houses are nestled into the Swiss landscape; the white cube gallery space is transformed through digital installation.
Meanwhile, Eva Vonk and Pieter Henket consider the role that the Congo Basin plays within the wider geological balance, drawing attention to the importance of oral culture, history and tradition with a groundbreaking photography series. Eddo Hartmann recognises the work of environmental scientists in the Netherlands, looking at the impact of human behaviour from the ground up. A new publication from Thames & Hudson looks at the poetry of geometry, considering how concrete can create boundary-pushing forms using new digital mapping techniques.
Dawoud Bey – an International Center of Photography Infinity Award winner – asks wider questions about the role of community in portrait photography. He notes: “is it possible to transcend the boundaries of difference and make a meaningful representation of a subject?’” he writes. “Does one have to be 25 years old and black to speak credibly to the experience of someone who is 25 and black? Does one have to be gay and white in order to speak legitimately about that experience? Is it possible to make it work with some common denominator that transcends lines of difference?”
In photography, there are seven outstanding practitioners who present bold and exciting series. They question the idea of home and identity, highlight the beauty of everyday objects and play with the notion of anonymity.
Also included in this issue are the winners of the 2019 Aesthetica Film Festival, with a special link to view the short and feature films.
Listen and Respond, the December / January issue, is available 1 December. For more information or to order your copy, click here.
1. Faded Forests. Photographer: Julia Morozova. Model: Alya Spyr @monster. Stylist: Francesca Martorelli & Rafaela Rusca. Art direction: Vladimir Soto. Mua: Monica Cena.
2. Doug Aitken, Mirage Gstaad, 2019. Installation view at Elevation 1049, Gstaad, Switzerland. Courtesy of the Artist and LUMA Foundation; Photo by Torvioll Jashari.
3. The Night Husband. Dreams possess a reality whose truths are neither denied nor obscured by real life. Photo by Pieter Henket. Edited by Eva Vonk and Stefanie Plattner Story based on a tale reported by Aïchatou Mboyo Lady and Vulgain Imbonda Teddy. Produced by Tales of Us.
4. LUNE DE SANG PAVILION NORTHERN NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA, 2018. Architect: CHROFI. Photograph: Brett Boardman.
5. Olivia Jeczmyk. Client: Hafa Bathroom Group. Agency: House of Radon. Art direction: Kevin Olberg, Christoffer McKie. Producer: Amanda Nordlöw, Sergej Israel. Set Design: Fritjof Granström, Milan Rakic, Zeke Söderlund. Makeup artist and Stylist: Jenny Hansen. Retouch: Julia Hallengren Retouch. Photography Assistant: Richard Bartram.
6. Thomas Jordan, Over the hill from the series The Fixed Path.