April / May 2023
I am fascinated by humanity. Once, I was lucky enough to visit the Cave of Altamira in northern Spain, where you can view paintings from 35,000-11,000 B.C. I was deeply moved by what I saw – pictorial representations of life as they knew it. It was beautiful. It made me feel like I was part of a longer, larger story, one that meanders and continues through the centuries and decades. These are measures of time we can only just comprehend. The constant state of moving forward is what defines us. As humans, we are always looking for something else, and it is this curiosity that makes us create and innovate. It's the evolution of ideas – how we were driven to have phones where we can see the people we're talking to, or have 10,000 songs in our pockets. Technology continues to push us to new places. We are moving at a cataclysmic speed. What I don't want to ever lose sight of are those moments defined by simple pleasures: the joy of new socks, pine forests, grass after it has been cut, or a child asking why.
Inside this issue, we consider identity, relationships and the impact of technology. We discuss the persistence of images and their ability to embed themselves in collective memory in Thomas Demand's retrospective, The Stutter of History. Refik Anadol speaks to us about the relationship between humans and machines, exploring the influence of art and creativity, as we rely more and more on AI to guide us through our lives. What does the future look like in this new world? Should we embrace it or fear it? Also, I am pleased to bring you an overview of this year's shortlisted artists for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2023.
In photography, Amy Harrity is this issue's cover photographer – providing moments of calm to our eyes and memories reminiscent of carefree days. Elsewhere, Gareth Iwan Jones, Niall Staines, Sarah Meyohas, Summer Wagner and Yannis Davy Guibinga bring us new ideas, elaborating on the dynamism of contemporary photography. Finally, Zanele Muholi speaks about being a visual activist.