Aesthetica Magazine Issue 114

August / September 2023

Storytelling is how we recall the past and imagine possible futures. There are stories we tell about ourselves and stories we tell about each other. Every layer adds more detail to the texture of life, and each experience expands the rich tapestry of our time in history. I collect memories and hold them dearly. This helps us make sense of our experiences. We can reach each other on a visceral level, and remind ourselves of the commonalites we share as humans. This issue is about reflection, memory and choice. For me, some of the smallest decisions have turned into the biggest life changes, such as missing a train or going left instead of right. These moments mean something and there’s always a bigger picture.

Inside this issue we meet Alex MacLean, one of the featured photographers in Civilization: The Way We Live Now, which is at the Saatchi Gallery, London. This landmark exhibition tracks humanity’s ever- changing and complex systems across the world, through the eyes of 150 photographers. We also chat with Tomás Saraceno, who is making strides by blurring the lines between activism, art, ecology, engineering and science. Next, we speak with Aïda Muluneh, an Ethiopian photographer known for her powerful portraits, which use bold primary colours and show us the power of the female gaze. She speaks about the breadth and scope of her work, as well as future plans. Elsewhere, Kapwani Kiwanga uses colour and material to reinterpret history from a new perspective whilst questioning power structures.

In photography we feature Gleeson Paulino, JeeYoung Lee, Margeaux Walter, Maria Leonardo Cabrita, Sarah Doyle and our cover photographers Estúdio Bingo. These fantastic lens-based artists take us on a voyage of discovery through surrealism and pop colours. Finally, the Last Words go to Curator Raúl Muñoz de la Vega about the Carrie Mae Weems exhibition currently on show at Barbican, London.

Cherie Federico

Outdoor Performance

Margeaux Walter’s fun, humorous self-portraits bring joy whilst responding to, and reflecting on, complex ways humans interact with landscapes.

World of Abstraction

Dublin-based Sarah Doyle harnesses bright colours and experimental shapes as a way of travelling to and inventing vast new horizons.

A Sense of Renewal

Brazilian image-maker Gleeson Paulino brings an evocative collection of pictures: a dreamlike chronicle about, and ode to, his native country.

Actions by Design

Colour is tied up with the architecture of power and control. Kapwani Kiwanga shows us how, in aesthetically pleasing, immersive installations.

Building a Universe

Origami boats sail through seas of paper-cut leaves in JeeYoung Lee’s constructed studio scenes, acting as windows to an inner world.

Beyond Narrative

We Need Colour is satisfying in its visual style and co-ordination: eyeshadows, backgrounds clothing and props are all carefully matched.

Planetary Expeditions

Maria Leonardo Cabrita imagines the discovery of a lost cosmos found in-between the Sun and Mercury, filled with neon skies and rising steam.

Creative Advocacy

Media representations of Africa are all too often based on clichéd views. Aïda Muluneh is pushing past these narratives with her surreal storytelling.

Aerial Perspective

A landmark show tracks humanity’s 21st century story, drawing attention to photo artists who are portraying the impact of industry on the Earth.

Time on Earth: The August / September Issue

Storytelling is how we recall the past and imagine possible futures. This issue is about reflection and memory, tracking complex systems across the world.

United Ecosystems

Global temperatures are set to reach new highs. Tomás Saraceno’s exhibition champions shared stewardship of the land, people and knowledge.