Editor’s Letter for the City Issue
C ity is a mystery. It encompasses a fundamental paradox: despite traffic jams, dirty air, overpriced apartments and litter in the streets, we still desire to dwell in a hostile environment of the concrete jungle. In fact, for the first time in history, the majority of human beings live in urban areas. Moreover, in the next century, more people will move to cities than have moved to cities in the history of civilization.
How can that be explained? Perhaps, the answer lies within us and not in the organization of the city. In 1961, Jane Jacobs, an urban activist and the author of “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”, wrote that “by its nature, the metropolis provides what otherwise could be given only by traveling; namely, the strange.” Indeed, the city is an endless journey, a maze full of unexpected, ambivalent experiences, beautiful and repulsive at the same time. It expands the imagination by exposing us to surprising things. With its density, diversity and continuous commotion of creating and destroying meanings and identities, the city boils all cultural differences down into one multilayered noosphere. In other words, urban life is difficult, but it’s also very inspiring. So let’s leave all the negativity behind and investigate the upsides of the urban existence.
The City Issue explores the city from multiple viewpoints and through a variety of means, in order to reveal the beauty of it. Aesthetic Study defines the city as a playground for creative experiments. So do our Chronicles of the City – using the language of photography. Idle Talks, a series of interviews with young creatives, reveal some aspects of culture and art particularly relevant to urban life now. There is also the Quiet series – curated guides to quiet places in big cities created by our talented contributors for this issue of Aesthetist.
For the cover of our City Issue, I chose the view of Rio de Janeiro from the Sugarloaf Mountain made by talented Brazilian designer, photographer and minimalist Arthur Martins Maciel. I’m sure that our #MinimalAndPale aficionados will appreciate that.
Aesthetist brings together those who gravitate towards the same aesthetics of taste. So we write about what we love – not as critics, but as participants. And this time we will be casual wanderers, observers and reporters of street-life.
Come join our inner city odyssey.