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Aesthetica Magazine Issue 107

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June / July 2022

Shaping the Future

I cycle to work everyday. Along the way, I go through a tunnel which has a small graffitied phrase on the side. In tiny letters, it says: “make eye contact.” I think about this often. Part of what it means to be human is to create connections and appreciate the interactions that we have with those around us. A smile can go a long way – it makes a huge difference. I remind myself that random acts of kindness are important. We need to realise the value of every person. Moments are transient, and time passes so quickly. 

This issue captures the current zeitgeist, and is a reminder of how much the past forms part of the present. There are so many things that connect us as human beings, right now, here on planet Earth, as we shape the future amidst our rapidly changing surroundings. In the Black Fantastic, which opens this June at Hayward Gallery, London, includes 11 contemporary artists from the African diaspora. The show questions our understanding of the world through science fiction, mythology and Afrofuturism. 

We speak with Hannah Starkey about her attentive gaze, as well as the changing representation of women both in front of, and behind, the lens. We discuss the wider vocabulary of photography and how it relates to contemporary power structures. Next, we look at the enduring presence of Modernism in architecture and design, and try to understand why a school of thought – that dates back over a century – still resonates today as much as it did back then. We also interview Anastasia Samoylova about the sub-tropical fever dream of Florida: a delicate ecosystem that's constantly threatened by its own extinction. 

As always, we are thrilled to bring you photographers who play with form, subject and genre in new ways. This issue features Florian W. Mueller, KangHee Kim, Anne Mason-Hoerter, Andrea Alkalay and Adriana Mora, as well as our cover photographer Fares Micue. Finally, the last words goes to November Paynter, Chief Curator of Shirin Neshat's Land of Dreams at Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto.