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Aesthetica #110

December / January 2023

The Art of Storytelling

Art is about storytelling, and we all tell stories. There are the stories we tell about ourselves and the ones we tell about each other. There are the moments that sit between memory, fact and fiction. It's how we present reality and remember the past. Sometimes, you tell yourself the same story so many times it becomes true. How the present is retold is subjective, and no person experiences it in the same way.

There are instances of joy and euphoria coupled with pain and loss. This is all part of the human experience. If there is one thing that binds us together, it’s that no matter who or where you are, we all are here right now on planet Earth. This is our time in history. It’s hard to picture the future – say 500 years from now – or to imagine how our existence could impact it. What will it be like? Dare to dream, I suppose.

This issue is dedicated to weaving narratives. Liam Wong highlights the beauty of the night and the intersection between reality, technology and science fiction. His latest book, After Dark, investigates global cities at night. Wong says: “I want to take real moments and transform them into something surreal to make the viewer question the reality depicted in each photograph.”

We speak to Tyler Mitchell about the fluidity of fine art and fashion photography, as he seamlessly traverses both worlds, alongside the impact of being the first Black photographer to shoot a cover for Vogue. Mária Švarbová’s swimming pools and brightly coloured caps follow a tradition from Seurat and Hockney, but by using architec-ture and light, she tells stories and memories of spaces where we can all find glimpses of serendipity.

In photography, we bring you works from Alexis Pichot, Henri Prestes, Miguel Vallinas Prieto, Priscilla Ong and Mónica Alcázar-Duarte. Each photographer takes an instant in time and turns it into a moment of introspection. Our cover artists Elsa & Johanna experiment with portraiture by reconstructing family memories. Finally, Last Words go to Doug Aitken, where he discusses his new book, Works 1992-2022.