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Aesthetica Magazine Issue 106 (Digital Version)

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April / May 2022

Human Stories

Collectively, we have witnessed more atrocities in the past two years than I would have ever thought possible. There were many dark days during the pandemic fuelled by fear, loss and the unknown. However, the power of human innovation has changed the face of this crisis, and we will be able to adapt and live alongside this virus. I recently recovered from Covid, and I’m certain it was mild due to having three vaccinations. I remember watching images of mass graves around the world, and I feel very lucky, but at the same time, this feeling is matched with a heavy heart for all the loss of life, globally. 

This brings me to the situation in Ukraine. It seems unthinkable. Citizens were not allowed to leave via humanitarian corridors, and everything is being destroyed. I tap that Guardian news app too much. I have offered my house to a family, and I want to help. I feel committed, now more than ever, to assisting those in need, worldwide. This war in Ukraine has shown us how fragile global and political ecosystems are, and that the shape of the world is being rewritten before our very eyes. Covid changed the world once, and now it will be altered irrevocably again. It does recall the end of WWI and the flu pandemic of 1918. It’s been a time of great uncertainty, so we turn to art and culture as a universal mechanism to make sense of the world; to put the wrongs right and remember that our humanity binds us together. 

This issue is all about human stories, and how we must never give up in the face the adversity. Our collective narrative is one of resilience and this issue embodies that notion entirely. We interview the venerable Gillian Laub about Southern Rites, which navigates social division in the 21st century. Meanwhile, Our Time on Earth at Barbican unpicks the Anthropocene. We also bring you the best in new photography, from practitioners who are innovating and stepping beyond the status quo. Take a moment and step inside this issue. Reflect on the words and images; they consolidate the here and now.