Aésthetist

|`es THēt • ist |
Taste in Ideas
Aé is a conceptual magazine on beauty, taste, and meaning. It encourages readers to observe the noteworthy, select the essentials, and create with love.

More about Aésthetist

Lily McFly

Editor-in-chief & Creative Director
of Aésthetist Magazine
Editor’s Letter
 

BACK TO THE FUTURE

The thing about the future is that it never looks the way we thought it would. Take Back to the Future Part II. Zemeckis said that filming the future scenes of the movie were the least enjoyable of making the whole trilogy, because he didn’t like films that tried to predict the future. “So, rather than trying to make a scientifically sound prediction that we were probably going to get wrong anyway, we figured, let’s just make it funny.”
   However, in this issue we are not going to make funny predictions. And here’s the reason why: the very idea of us being able to imagine the future is… fascinating. Our capacity for mental time travel is what makes us unique.
  Without my mental time traveling to the desired future, there would be no Aésthetist magazine, no aesthetist.co, no #MinimalAndPale. I must confess to having spent more time in the [imaginary] future than I probably should, and it was very difficult for me to come back to reality and live a normal life. But I was fueled by a desire to create a magazine. That desire transformed into hope and became more real than reality itself.
   But I’m back and thrilled to bring you Aé Five. It is born out of love, sweat, tears, late nights and our mental expeditions to the future with Aé’s Art Director and my dear friend Bruno Candiotto. That’s what it takes to grow something beautiful out of an abstract concept. And I believe that Aé Five will inspire you to create great new things for tomorrow. Because the best way to predict the future is to create it, right?

 

Welcome to the Future / Utopia issue

Brasilia | Living in Utopia

Words by Lily McFly

Visuals by Bruno Candiotto

In 1956, The Plano Piloto (Pilot Plan)  won a contest out of 5550 projects competing, giving Lucio Costa, the urban planner, and Oscar Niemeyer, the architect, a unique opportunity to plan and build an ideal city from scratch. President Juscelino Kubitschek had an idea to construct a capital in the deserted centre of the country, hundreds of kilometres away from major cities, to bring progress to the interior of Brazil. “He wanted to build a city that would represent Brazil ,” said Niemeyer in an interview with the BBC in 2000. The city of clean lines, rational planning, and social equality was designed, constructed, and inaugurated in 41 months.
As soon as Brasília was completed, it was both praised an criticized. Niemeyer’s futuristic architecture, space-age shapes, and aesthetic simplicity was celebrated by the leading critics. However, utopian ideal hasn’t really worked out with Brasilia. According to the original plans, Brasília was designed to house government authorities and staff. But during the construction period, many Brazilians from all over the country migrated to Brasília. For many, the utopian city was an opportunity for a better life. But Brasília was not built for poor, weak, or uneducated people, so all migrants had to either go back, or live in the satellite cities. Utopian city became a “fantasy island” surrounded by poor and disorganized regions.

When the first man in space, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin visited Brasilia, he said, “I feel as if I stepped on the surface of another planet.” The city is a monument of Modern Movement ideals. For its modernist spaciousness, Brasilia has been criticized by many for failing its social purposes. Huge amounts of space make it difficult for pedestrians, the population is spread out and dependent on the automobile. Its infinite expanse of the landscape is not designed for humans. But a utopian city a priori can’t have the ‘ingredients’ of a normal city: chaotic streets, messy narrow sidewalks and randomness of buildings, shaped by the layers of time. Instead, it has magnificent architecture, large grassy plains, with the horizon stretching away endlessly, and the low-lying cloudscape that makes you feel like you’re on the dome of the earth. And because of that flatness of the city, Niemeyer’s buildings look so hauntingly beautiful. In other words, Brasilia is not just a city; it is a city with a unique image. It was planned to do so much more than just to provide a space for living and working. The greatest achievement of Brasilia was the creation of a new cultural image for the country.

Conversations | Fernanda Yamamoto

Words by Lily McFly

Visuals by Bruno Candiott0

Behind every collection is a story of Fernanda’s new discoveries. The latest one, for her Winter’16 collection, is about Fernanda’s journey to Cariri.

Fernanda Yamamoto is one of the most up-and-coming designers of Brazil. Her collections are sold worldwide. In 2014, the international fashion website Farfetch chose Fernanda and other 14 designers to represent Brazil, seeing a potential appeal to a global audience in her sophisticated, experimental style. In her hometown of São Paulo, locals love Yamamoto for her minimalist and stand-out designs, influenced by culture of her adopted land Brazil and her Japanese ancestry.

Before starting her own label, Fernanda has worked with two of the most celebrated Brazilian designers, Alexandre Herchcovitch and Jum Nakao. In 2008, Fernanda launched her eponymous fashion brand and quickly began stacking up awards and recognition for her works. The designer is no stranger to innovative designs. In her works, traditional Brazilian motifs get new interpretations for the future. Fernanda mixes manual knitting with sculptural silhouettes and flowing fabrics, balancing folklore patterns and minimalist design.

How has living between two different cultures shaped your character? – People always get surprised when I say that I am Brazilian. They also get surprised when I say that I don´t speak Japanese. But one of the most outstanding experiences in my life has been my first trip to Japan. I recognized a lot of myself in that culture. But, at the same time, I felt like I was not Japanese because I couldn’t understand a word and couldn’t communicate. However, having Japanese roots has always been one of the most important influences in my life. It’s really interesting how easy it is to recognize the Japanese accuracy in my work mixed with a certain Brazilian flow and sensuality.

When did you realize that you wanted to create, to become a fashion designer? – It was a process that took some time. At the beginning, I wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to do, but my intuition said that I should try. I had a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration before pursuing fashion education. At some point I decided to go deep in the studies of fashion, and I went to New York to take the AAS degree in Fashion Studies at Parsons The New School for Design. I think, that was the moment when I realized that there was no way back. When I returned to Brazil, I started to work with other designers and created my own collection.

How do you strike a balance between the ‘traditional’ and ‘fashionable’ in your designs?  – In my last collection, it became clear to me that we could always create something new by looking at our past and history. That´s the way I work: understanding traditional and historical values and reinterpreting it to nowadays with a very personal view.

Do you sacrifice your present moment for the success and happiness in the future? – I believe that present moment is as important as the future, and as important as the past. We can’t reinvent the wheel, but we can bring a new vision to the present (which is in essence unique by itself).

RENAISSANCE LACE

But behind every collection is a story of Fernanda’s new discoveries. The latest one, for her Winter’16 collection, is about Fernanda’s journey to Cariri. It’s a region in the Paraiba state in the Northeast of Brazil with lots of small towns and the harsh dry lands. But the cracked patterns and a rich natural palette of vivid tones and deep shades are not the only thing that had drawn her to that place.  Fernanda went there to learn more about the ‘Renaissance lace’. It took a year of hard work to create that collection But the result was more than just a fashion collection. Her original interpretation of a centuries-old tradition has become a link connecting the past and the future.

 

Please tell us a bit more about your unique experience in Cariri  – It was an outstanding experience. Firstly, discovering another Brazil, the one I had no idea about before my trip, was very exciting. Cariri is the driest region of Brazil. I went there to learn more about the ‘Renaissance lace’, which was brought by the Portuguese and became a tradition in that region. I was also thrilled to meet the women ‘behind the lace’; we went to the artisans’ house to learn how the lace was made. It was a work that took more than a year.

Photographs from Cariri have been made by Bruno Candiotto for his Nos.so project, which explores Brazilian culture. You can discover more about Nos.so by visiting his website:  www.brunocandiotto.com

Archaeology of the Future

Research & Visuals by Lily McFly Culture Club
Major technological trends of the last decade have extremely accelerated global culture to the point that the future is happening to us much faster than we could ever have imagined. Aé has identified the most significant ideas in culture, lifestyle, art, music, fashion, and literature of the present that will help you to chart the future.
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

– Søren Kierkegaard

i. culture

We live in “the extreme present”
Our lives used to feel like stories; now we are increasingly dependent to a constantly refreshing stream of posts and tweets. In the book The Age of Earthquakes, today’s intellectual heroes, writer Douglas Coupland, curator Hans Ulrich Obrist and editor Shumon Basar, call current historical moment “the extreme present”. While the internet is changing the structure of our brains, and technological progress modifies our world in unpredictable ways, our reality is one step ahead of the language we’ve inherited from the past. That’s why they propose a set of new words and terms to describe today’s phenomenons. Their glossary of the 21st century includes words like “Deselfing (n)”, which means “willingly diluting one’s sense of self and ego by plastering the internet with as much information as possible”, or “Time snack (v.)” meaning “often annoying moments of pseudo-leisure created by computers when they stop to save a file or to search for software updates or merely to mess with your mind.”

ii. lifestyle

With consumerism being a noticeable part of global culture, the world’s obsession with all things material costs us the Earth and human happiness. “We purchase things, not to fulfill our basic needs, but to fill some voids about our lives and make social statements about ourselves,” critic of excessive consumerism Annie Leonard explains. “It turns out our stuff isn’t making us any happier,” she argues. The problem of overconsumption brings us to the crisis of Self. And while minimalists encourage people to buy less but choose better, Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo offers her philosophy of decluttering. She has written four books on organizing, which have collectively sold millions of copies worldwede. The main idea of her books is keeping only those things that “spark joy” and getting rid of everything that makes you feel heavy inside. “Tidying up means confronting yourself. You come to realise what’s truly important in your life,” writes Kondo.
Buy Less. Live more

iii.art

The artwork you will never see
One of the basic purposes of art is the search for immortality and a tangible connection to the future. But some contemporary artists interpret it literally: Their art becomes an actual time-capsule with a message for the future. For instance, the Black Square XVII, created by the American artist Taryn Simon, is made from nuclear material and currently being stored at Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM). A glassy black cube of vitrified nuclear waste was fabricated in May 21, 2015, in collaboration with ROSATOM during the centenary year of the debut exhibition of Kasimir Malevich’s Black Square. It will remain there, encased in steel and concrete, until May 21, 3015, when its radioactive properties have diminished safe for human exposure and exhibition. Cast within the black square is a two-ply cylindrical steel capsule holding a letter to the future that Simon wrote. As a foreign citizen, Simon hasn’t been allowed onto Russia’s state-controlled Rosatom nuclear agency, so for both safety and security reasons she has never physically touched or seen her own work of art. Instead, she has communicated with a team of Russian nuclear physicists. And while nuclear Black Square is hidden within the soil for 1000 years, it represents the ambivalent state of distance and closeness. It exists in the present moment, but none of us will ever see it. But there’s still a chance that someone will see another work of art, aimed at future audiences. In 2015, writer/actor John Malkovich and director Robert Rodriguez created a film that will be out in November 2115. According to IMDB, “the content of this film is currently a secret, due to be revealed only when the title is released in 2115.” There are rumours that the film is nothing but a good way to promote the sponsor of this film, Louis XIII Cognac, which takes 100 years to make. While an empty void in the wall of Garage Museum awaits Black Square XVII arrival 999 years from now, and 100 Years movie is being held in a special safe with a timer, we keep guessing whether it is a beautiful art concept or just a sophisticated promotion. Time will tell.
 

iv. music

Last summer, Ypulse, a youth marketing and millennial research firm, surveyed 1,000 young adults, asking them about music genres and artists. It found that while millennials are passionate about music (76% within the 13- to 17-year- old bracket said they wouldn’t be able to last a week without it), 79% of 13- to 32-year-olds said their tastes didn’t fall into one specific music genre. Just 11% said that they only listened to one genre of music. “It seems,” Ypulse noted, “that millennials are a genre-less generation”. Nowadays, popular music becomes akin to fast fashion: it imitates the sound of iconic or independent bands and artists, whether it’s electronic, indie-rock, or hip-hop, appropriating, or even “neutralising” it for masses. For modern listeners, music journalists and tastemakers are no longer getting in the way. Millennials are the first generation to literally have the entirety of the world’s music at their fingertips. They’re likely to be influenced by friends, celebrities or music on commercials. Samuel Potts, Columbia Records’ head of radio, says that “online culture is inherently global, so genres that were distinct and contained to geographical locations are now cross-pollinated throughout the world. As a result, you get artists like 19-year-old Raury, who’s championed by the likes of Kanye and André 3000, and cites everyone from Bon Iver to Phil Collins as an influence.” Moreover, artists don’t want to record full-leight albums. Kevin Parker, the leader of the Australian psychedelic rock band Tame Impala says: “Right now, doing an- other album doesn’t excite me. There’s something narrow-minded about thinking an album is the only way you can put out music, especially in the world we’re in at the moment. Anything is possible. There’s so many people doing interesting things with the internet and technology, there could be so many ways of making music and listening to it.”
A Genre-less Generation

v. fashion

Wearable tech is the new black
The speed, with which technology has been adopted by fashion, is dramatically increasing. While fashion developes faster and faster, there is something more progressive than design and style changes. And it is not about selling clothes online. It’s about innovations that alter the entire concept of clothing. Studio XO is a fashion laboratory that operates on the intersection of science, technology, fashion & music. Founded in 2011 by the pioneer of merging technology and fashion Nancy Tilbury, Studio XO has a team of hybrid experts from fashion designers to coders, engineers to materiologists. They’ve created the world’s first flying dress for Lady Gaga, the “interactive clothes” for Black Eyed Peas and the “digital mermaid bra” for Azealia Bank. Inherently, Studio XO are designers; they are interested in fashion aesthetics. But they also explore science, making fiction a science fact. At Studio XO, “digital couture” experience merge 3D printing, LED pannels, and sensors. Global giants also embrace new technologies. Adidas works on creating smart clothes for athletes that will monitor their real-time performance, tracking heartrates, respiration, movement and more. With these garments, Adidas hopes to get sportswear to another level. Wearable tech is the new black for the whole industry. Even though it is very difficult to make people change their behavior, especially with the whole new generation growing up on fast fashion, the concept of clothing is going to change.

vi. literature

Experimental interactive literature exists; it’s video games. Paradoxically, if you want to think of yourself as well-educated, or well-read, you need to engage with them. Today, video games have become not only well-designed, but also well-written. Naomi Alderman, the author and games writer, picks examples of great video games, which experiment with interesting storytelling. Her top ten includes games like Her Story, Gone Home, The Stanley Parable, and of course, the sublime Journey. Journey is an indie video game developed by That game company and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for PlayStation 3. In Journey, the player travels in a vast desert towards a mountain in the distance. The player can discover other players and join them, but the only form of communication between the two is a musical chime. Reviewers praised it for its unique emotional experience, and have since listed it as one of the greatest games of all time. Ultimately, reading a story involves a transaction between the reader and the text. We read for pleasure, for a unique experience, and for gaining meaning. Video games allow us to interact with a story, illustrating its space and time, just like our own imagination does when reading a book.
Video games might be the greatest storytelling medium

Olhografico by Jorge Sato

Sensing Ideas • Photo Essay
CONCEPT

At the very beginning, the choice of shooting the work of Oscar Niemeyer happened without plans or schedules. It was because photographer Jorge Sato’s admiration for his work and his desire to interact with architect’s brilliant creations. A visual interaction deeper than just revealing those fantastic constructions in a traditional way. Sato’s goal was to transport his work to an oniric and mysterious reality. A singular universe based on introspection and imagination.

To achieve that, Jorge Sato used analogue lo-fi plastic cameras that are well-known for their technique limitations, instability and for unique aesthetic. Not having total control over the image and leaving room for the aleatory were part of the process to reach singular results. Sato believes in the beauty of randomness.

Niemeyer usually says “…curves make up the entire Universe”, I have just been trying to take those curves to a new undiscovered place, not using the perfect technique as a craftsman. Rather, using the sensibility of an apprentice

Jorge Sato

CAMINHO NIEMEYER
OLHOGRAFICO
Igreja São Francisco de Assis - Pampulha, Belo Horizonte, 2012
IGREJA SÃO FRANCISCO DE ASSIS, 2012
Auditório Ibirapuera, São Paulo, 2011
Grafico I, 2011
Jorge Sato

Based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Jorge Sato graduated from ESPM (Escola Superior de Propaganda & Marketing) and started working in the creative area at local advertising agencies. After a year, he got to know a Brazilian Fine Art photographer and after working together for about 3 years, Sato decided to focus on his personal projects in order to express himself in a unique way. Despite being a young photographer, Jorge has been part of many collective exhibitions in Brazil and abroad. He is represented by Tripolli Art Gallery.

www.jorgesato.com

Bibliothèque | Future & Utopia Edition

Beautiful Books • Selection
They say not to judge a book by its cover, but we believe that great books deserve great design and visuals. For our Future & Utopia issue, we’ve selected books, which will enrich your library and will look particularly beautiful on the shelf.

Cover Photo

From The Tale Of Tomorrow © Gestalten, 2016

THE TALE OF TOMORROW

Utopian Architecture in the Modernist Realm

Editors: Robert Klanten, Sofia Borges
Gestalten, 2016

The retro-futuristic epoch is one of the most visually spectacular in architecture’s history. The utopian buildings of the 1960s and 1970s never go out of style. This book compiles radical ideas, rediscovered photos, and visionary structures.

From The Tale Of Tomorrow © Gestalten, 2016

THE STILL LIFE

In Product Presentation and Editorial Design

Editors: Robert Klanten, Anna Sinofzik
Gestalten, 2015

Still life is a classic back in bloom. The Still Life showcases the evolution of this age-old genre in striking product portraiture by some of today’s most imaginative photographers, designers, and stylists.

 

From The Still Life © Gestalten, 2016

OTHERWORDLY

Avant-Garde Fashion and Style

Editors: Theo-Mass Lexileictous, Sven Ehmann,Robert Klanten

Gestalten, 2016

Fashion from another planet. Unwearable, subversive, radically post-human, alien. Otherworldly presents avant-garde garments, styling, fashion photography, and young designers who are a whole galaxy away from the mainstream.

 

From Otherwordly © Gestalten, 2016

Conversations | Mauricio F. Corridan

Closer • Stories & Visuals
Interview by Lily McFly
Visuals by Mauricio F. Corridan
A conversation on beauty, the lifestyle of a nomad, and global culture with the Irish photographer from Berlin, Mauricio F. Corridan.

Photographer Mauricio F. Corridan, who is tall, fit, bearded, and always smiling, exhibits the same energy and brightness as his works. His photography carries no traces of imbalance; the photos he takes capture the beauty of the moment, either it is the hectic life of NYC or a poor village in Vietnam. I spoke to Mauricio when he was in Asia, traveling and living in South Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia.

“I always try to capture the beauty of things through the way I see and feel them. Taking pictures is probably my way of coping with my emotions and with life in general. It’s the one time when I actually forget about everything around me and put all of my energy in creating.”

mauricio f. corridan

LM: Please tell us a bit about your unique experience in Asia.

MC: Traveling and living in places like South Korea, Thailand or Indonesia was incredible. I joined a photography workshop in Vietnam when I started my degree, but I was only there for two weeks. Being there for 6 months is a completely different experience and South Korea was absolutely new to me. You barely see any foreigners in Seoul, so it’s easy too feel like and outsider at first.

I did an exchange semester there for four months and despite the communication issues, I have to say that the Korean nation is one of the friendliest and most helpful I have encountered. It felt good to be there. Being able to study there and to learn from my Korean teachers and classmates was a truly unique experience.

LM: You were born in Southern Ireland, raised in The Canary Islands, relocated to Berlin in your twenties. How has it shaped your character?

MC: Living in different places made me curious about other cultures and places in general. I didn’t have the typical Spanish or Irish childhood and I’m glad about that, as I am who I am today because of it. I had always enjoyed looking at beautiful imagery and watching nature and wildlife documentaries, but I had never actually thought about be- coming a professional photographer. A few years ago, I decided to find a new and more creative path. I started a degree in Photography and that has completely changed my life.

LM: You’ve got a degree in advertising and public relations. When did you realize that you wanted to become a photographer? Was it a turning point in your life?

MC: I had always enjoyed looking at beautiful imagery and watching nature and wildlife documentaries, but I had never actually thought about becoming a professional photographer. A few years ago, I decided to find a new and more creative path. I started a degree in Photography and that has completely changed my life. I’m currently studying a BA in Photography in Berlin.

 

LM: The world is in the global crisis right now, and everyday we witness pain, hunger, inequality, and violence. Yet your photography carries no traces of imbalance; the photos you post are beautifully curated, even when you document the hectic life of NYC or a poor village in Vietnam.
What is the message of your art? 

MC:  I’m a very passionate person with strong emotions and I often feel overwhelmed by the things happening in the world, probably more than I should. I always try to capture the beauty of things through the way I see and feel them. Taking pictures is probably my way of coping with my emotions and with life in general. It’s the one time when I actually forget about everything around me and put all of my energy in creating. I don’t know what my message is, perhaps I need to figure it out or perhaps I’ll never have an answer for this, but what I do want is for others to enjoy my work and feel all sorts of emotions when they look at it. As a photographer, I want to continue traveling and experiencing the world.

Conversations | Bleu Mode

Interview by Julia Ahtijainen

Photography by Julien Boudet

As a visual journalist of street styles and urban movements, Julien Boudet, the man behind Bleu Mode, has an exceptional eye for fashion moments.

Julien Boudet is one of the most known fashion photographers of today. He started in New York 2013, and has been unstoppable ever since. Inspired by the landscapes and architecture of the city, he chooses style over anything else. As a visual journalist of street styles and urban movements, the city and the people in the city, Julien has an exceptional eye for fashion fusions and infusions, and proper vocabulary to speak the language of clothing.

Julien started from street photography in New York City, later on choosing people and their style of dressing as his main subject. Pretty quickly his works was noticed and and project by project he rooted into the field of fashion photography. Boudet admits: “I liked taking photos, but I would never thought that I could make living out of it… I went to Parson’s to study photography, which was good

to learn the basics and the technical stuff. It was pretty useful… But I dropped out because it became boring for me. My course mates wanted to do mostly some artsy stuff, like shooting nude self- portraits, and other abstract stuff. No one was into fashion, and at that point I already knew exactly what I wanted to do.” Julien has always been interested in clothing and styles on the streets. “Designers still get inspired by the streets,” says Julien, “They use our photos for their next collection references.

And also marketing people and trend researchers use our photos to create mood boards… We have so much content each season. If to put all our* photos in the line from one season, you can certainly spot common elements and trends coming up.”

“My course mates wanted to do mostly some artsy stuff, like shooting nude self- portraits, and other abstract stuff. No one was into fashion, and at that point I already knew exactly what I wanted to do”

Trends today are rather global than city-specific. The language of clothing is more or less international. “You might see some differences within the big cities. In NYC you see a little bit of everything, Paris might be a little bit more classy, but mostly trends are global. For example, Yeezy shoes can be seen pretty much everywhere, and Vetements is present during every fashion week, in every city,” comments Boudet.

Obviously, brands and certain items tell a lot about a person, and Julien is always interested in reading people through their clothing. For instance, in his opinion shoes do tell a lot about a person. But for him, it all comes subconsciously, automatically. He admits that some people try too hard by wearing the latest trends and brands. Personally, he keeps away from the that, and at the very moment he prefers the creations of Haider Ackermann, Daniel Andresen and Boris Bidjan Saberi in his wardrobe, appreciating the combination of design, comfort and functionality. Especially while working and traveling a lot.

“I see myself in photography, but I don’t know about street styles. I’m 30 now and it’s still fun, but when I’ll get 35 I don’t think I’ll enjoy it as much as I do now.”

Although known and followed by many under the name Mr ‘Blue Fashion’, Julien says that blue isn’t his favorite color. He compares colors with trends, as they both tend to come and go. Last years he’s been into wearing black, now turning into muted shades: “I find bright colors and patterns being a bit too much… They’re distracting.” Besides the fact that blue represents innovation, freshness and new ideas, the color much deeper meaning for Julien. Blue represents the environment where he grew up. Born and raised by the Mediterranean seaside in the South of France, sea-blue plays an important role in photographer’s life, representing his origin and vision, his past, his future, and his personal take on the fashion photography. And one can see within his images the appreciation of the movement, the waves and the flow of fab- rics, the step forward of the garment and the person wearing it.

Julien still loves the energy of NYC, but he also sees Asia as a growing market

in the future. He says that South Korea has an interesting fashion week concept, which takes place right after Tokyo’s fashion week. And he also admits that within this fast pace work and travelling it’s hard to find time for himself. Julien confesses that for him it is important taking a step back and seeing what’s been done, and also what could be done as the next move. Even thought he enjoys his intense fashion week schedules and travels, during the summer he likes to take time-off to visit his family and friends in South of France, to rest and re-charge. “I see myself in photography, but I don’t know about street styles. I’m 30 now and it’s still fun, but when I’ll get 35 I don’t think I’ll enjoy it as much as I do now. It’s good for practice. You should do street styles for 5-6 years at least. It’s a good thing to do for sure… But I know that I’m not here randomly, I know what I’m doing, and I have plans… I have my next step on my mind.”

 

style theory

Berlin | Quiet Guide

Words & Visuals by MICA

Intro by LILY McFLY

FRAGMENTED CITY AS A LAB FOR CREATIVITY

You may have heard that Berlin is a city condemned forever to becoming and never to being. That was said back in 1910 by renowned art critic Karl Scheffler, but still remains very true today. The city struggles with its gaps and scars of the past even 25 years after the fall of the Wall. But perhaps the fact that Berlin is still fragmented is part of it’s quality. Unlike London or Paris, the new Berlin has not be- come a playground for big architects. The city loves to mix old and new, leaving space for people.

 

Germany’s capital is often referred to as a laboratory of ideas and creativity. That’s what attracts so many bright minds – young and talented. And one of them is the author of our Berlin Quiet Guide, Portuguese materials scientist and photographer Mica, who lives in Berlin. Let’s explore another, quieter side of this youthful city.

“When I first thought of moving to Berlin, I could actually narrow it down to just a couple of reasons. Primarily, because I got a challenging position in a renowned scientific institute while I was still in the process of writing my DPhil thesis, back in Oxford. Secondly, because I felt a very strong connection with the city when I was first here, for a one-month training, in 2008. I knew it right then, that I would come back here in a totally different context.

 

At the moment, there are plenty of reasons to live here. Berlin is a magical, consistently surprising, crazy city. Complex even. I’m continuously digging away layers of interesting things and sub- cultures that are happening pretty much everywhere. What I find most inspiring in Berlin is this sense of newness of the city that I feel on a daily basis.” – Mica

 

KÖNIG GALLERY

As a monument of the brutalist era (if you can imagine such a thing), St. Agnes church, in Kreuzberg district, is one of those places one should not miss. Architect Arno Brandlhuber spent three years to transform the former church — with its heavy concrete interior — into an art space. The gallery currently represents thirty international, emerging and established artists, the majority being from a younger generation.

Annette Kelm, ‘Pizza‘. Installation view at Konig Galerie, 2016

SODA. BERLIN

Soda is all about magazines and books. Make sure to stop by this stylish store when you’re next in Berlin, especially if you are a designer, photographer, illustrator, architect or simply fond of visual arts and printed matter. Plus, it’s located at Rosenthaler Platz (one of my favourites!), the heart of a vibrant area in Mitte district.

BIKINI BERLIN

Bikini Berlin is Germany’s first concept mall. This architectural concept combines shopping, working, leisure, cinema and hotel in an urban environment. The shopping mall is focused on local designers/brands as well as a selection of renowned contemporary international labels. The highlight of Bikini Berlin is the landscaped, publicly accessible, roof terrace with a unique view of the Zoo and its wildlife. A whole new shopping experience located in West Berlin.

C/O BERLIN

The most important gallery for photography in town is five minutes away from Bikini Berlin. The contemporary art foundation C/O Berlin reopened in the Amerika Haus building. The contemporary art foundation usually hosts several exhibitions at a time, showcasing both renowned artists and emerging talents. At the moment, C/O Berlin is hosting “Retrospective” by American photographer Stephen Shore. This exhibit includes over 300 pieces, some of which have never been exhibited before.

PARK AT GLEISDREIECK

Gleisdreieck Park is most likely my favourite green space in town and where I normally go out to shoot. This open space is a result from a conversion of land once occupied by an old railway crossing into a large urban-scale metropolitan park. Some historic relics, smoothly integrated throughout the park, are still visible in this former railway junction. Skaters can enjoy one of the largest skating areas in the city at the East Park of Gleisdreieck. The West Park is full of beautiful lawns and play areas. From there you can enjoy the park and the city at the same time.

 

TREPTOW CREMATORIUM

Designed by renowned architects Axel Schultes and Charlotte Frank, it remains one of the most outstanding contemporary buildings in the city. The Treptow Crematorium was at the top of my list of places to visit in Berlin for quite some time. Too long I would say! I’ve managed to finally go there last Summer and ended up, being completely alone, shooting the space roughly for three hours straight. The control of material and light is absolutely breath- taking. A totally unexpected space for healing.

Mica’s pseudonym is Nomadic by Choice. Born in Portugal, educated in England, Mica is based in Berlin. Materials Scientist by trade, photographer the rest of the time.

http://www.nomadicbychoice.com

Time Traveler | Aesthetic Study

Words & Visuals

Lily McFly

Time traveling is easy

Sailing across the globe is one thing, but traveling through time is quite another. Many would say that time traveling can only be about time machines, warped spacetime, and moving faster than light, but, in essence, our capacity for mental time travel is what really excites us. Unlived lives of a dreamer, sparked by a thought, a scent, or a sound. Legendary lands, described by prophets and visionaries, who fire our minds with the image of a future heaven on Earth. Utopias, created by believers of a perfect society, egalitarianism, and polyculturalism. The imagined worlds of tomorrow have always appealed to us powerfully and enduringly, creating flows of belief in our hearts and minds.

So the time machine exists. And it is our brain. That fundamentally prospective organ has been designed to use information from the past and the present to generate predictions about the future. We think that our memory is a tool for remembering the past, but it is also generates simulations of possible future events. For our ancestors, that capacity provided behavioral flexibility that would increase their chances to survive. Moreover, without an imagined picture of the future, there would be no cities, no culture, no civilization. Through these time travels, not only that we try to predict the future but also to improve and idealize it.

DREAMER

“The verb to dream never used to stand in for to aspire”

      Dreaming is the easiest way to travel to the future. However, the verb to dream never used to stand in for to aspire. Dreaming used to be a matter of sleep. Americans changed the meaning of it with their collective embrace of the so-called ‘American dream’. In 1931, American historian James Truslow Adams coined the phrase ‘The American Dream,’ in his book The Epic of America. Adams used the ‘dream’ as a structuring conceit for his gloss of American history, describing this dream as one of material prosperity, but also of what we might now call self-actualization. Today, according to Oxford English Dictionary, one of the meanings of the verb to dream is “to imagine and envisage as if in a dream; to have a vision or fantasy of. Now chiefly: to think or daydream about (something greatly desired); to hope or long for.”

FORECASTER

*Futurology is a discipline between art and science. It doesn’t predict the future – it forecasts the future, studying possible, probable, and preferable events and the worldviews and myths that underlie them. Even though it is parallel to the field of history, part of the discipline seeks a systematic and pattern-based understanding of past and present, to determine the likelihood of future events and trends. One of the area of foresight professionals’ study is trend forecasting. And this is how it works in fashion industry:

     “Fashion forecasting started with Tobe Coller Davis Floyd, who was the first fashion forecaster. Back in 1927 Miss Tobe founded her eponymous fashion advisory service company, based in New York City. She started from delivering fashion weekly reports for only 4 clients, but eventually managed to build a fashion empire and provide companies with insightful analysis, strategic and tactical recommendations. Another fashion forecaster was Edward Bernays, one of the most famous PR specialist of the XX century. His self-defined job was “gaining public acceptance for new ideas.” To him, forecasting was not about prognosis; it was a form of PR that could be used, for example, to revive old-fashioned fabrics and give them a new twist. The use of the word “forecasting” in fashion was indeed controversial because of the nature of the forecasters’ methods; it  was neither clearly exposed nor scientific, as its critics objected.
     Today forecasting is something that is broadly used in every business and fashion retail, in particular. It is the key priority for every company to provide their target audience with the latest trends. Fashion agencies like WGSM, Trendstop, Promostyl or Fashion Snoops work on trend research, market reports and analysis of cultural shifts for various clients, including designers, buyers, and product-managers.
The future of forecasting industry is researching micro-trends. These trends will last for a couple of seasons and will provide stable results. With fashion brands offering from two to six collections per season, the use of micro-trends can become crucial.”  –  Helena Vasiliadi

VISIONARY

A visionary is one who can envision the future. But their capacity to predict it is not achieved only through meditation, drugs, or lucid dreams. In fact, artists, directors, and writers have a formidable track record of picturing the future quite accurately. For example, Back to the Future Part II correctly predicted a number of technological and sociological changes that occurred by 2015, including video chat systems; the rise of ubiquitous cameras; flat panel, widescreen television; hands-free video game systems; talking hologram billboards; wearable technology; and head-mounted displays. But more often, lots of the science of tomorrow comes in a form of science fiction. Back in 1968, writer and futurist Arthur C. Clarke predicted iPad in his 2001 A Space Odyssey. The iPad was released in 2010, two years after Clarke’s death.

“When [Floyd] had tired of official reports, memoranda and minutes, he would plug his foolscap-sized Newspad into the ship’s information circuit and scan the latest reports from Earth. One by one, he would conjure up the world’s major electronic papers. He knew the codes of the more important ones by heart and had no need to consult the list on the back of his pad. Switching to the display’s short-term memory, he would hold the front page while he searched the headlines and noted the items that interested him. […]

Floyd sometimes wondered if the Newspad, and the fantastic technology behind it, was the last word in man’s quest for perfect communications. Here he was, far out in space, speeding away from Earth at thousands of miles an hour, yet in a few milliseconds he could see the headlines of any newspaper he pleased. The text was updated automatically on every hour; even if one read only the English versions, one could spend an entire lifetime doing nothing but absorbing the ever-changing flow of information from the news satellites.”

 

 2001 A Space Odyssey (1968)
by Arthur C. Clarke

THE TIME TRAVELING HIPSTER

That mysterious young man wearing modern sunglasses and a printed T-shirt might be a time traveler. The photograph from 1941 of genuine authenticity of the re-opening of the South Fork Bridge in Gold Bridge, British Columbia, was claimed that the appearance of that hipster-loooking guy was too modern and not of the styles worn in the 1940s. Originated from the Bralorne Pioneer Museum, the photograph was featured in their virtual exhibit Their Past Lives Here, produced and hosted through investment by the Virtual Museum of Canada (VMC).
However, further research suggested that the modern look of the  young man was an illusion. The style of sunglasses first appeared in the 1920s. Moreover, his “printed T-shirt” was on closer inspection a sweater with a sewn-on emblem, very similar to the one that was used by the Montreal Maroons, an ice hockey team from that era. The remainder of his clothing would appear to have been available at the time, though his clothes are far more casual than those worn by the other individuals in the photograph.

Conversations | Saunak Shah

Closer • Stories & Visuals
 
Interview by Lily McFly
Visuals by Saunak Shah & Pursuit of Portraits
A conversation on the photography, the importance of the moment, and the power of art with the founder of Pursuit of Portraits Saunak Shah.

Saunak Shah is a photographer, designer, and art director, based in New York. His photographic project, Pursuit of Portraits, began as a personal Instagram account in 2015, but within months gained popularity by connecting thousands of people in the Instagram community who shared a passion for portraiture. Today, Pursuit of Portraits has tens of thousands of follower from around the globe.

“Art for me is a silent revolution; sacred and personal to one’s point of view.”

Saunak Shah

LM:  Your project Pursuit of Portraits is a very popular community of portrait-lovers and a platform where you feature portraits of ordinary people (not always models) made by young creatives (not always professional photographers). Why is this kind of portrait photography trending now?

SS: The digital & social space is a transformative platform yet it can be an overwhelming and intimidating beast sometimes. To some extent and to many, it has also become the barometer of clout and how much influence you carry. In such times when it is easy to feel insignificant and sometimes mediocre; some communities have sprung that provide a platform to share the voice and talent for the common good of the community; irrespective of background, influence or popularity. Pursuit of Portraits is a byproduct of such a concept. i.e. A platform and meeting place for Portrait lovers everywhere.

LM: Mobile photography has become a part of the art industry. Do you feature mobile images in Pursuit of Portraits?

SS: Pursuit of Portraits features notable work irrespective of how it was captured. We feature photographs that grab our attention and are shared using #PursuitofPortrats. We believe a strong portrait can transform you to a different place or time.

LM: As an art director, you get to work with the idea of the future a lot. On the other hand, photography deals with the present moment. How do you strike a balance between planning the future and staying present in your work?

SS:  The past, present and the future are equally important as sources of inspiration for my work and myself. The past is filled with lessons learnt and how we can constantly redefine the notion of art. The present is the canvas we have on hand; the ever so changing yet a living and breathing world that we live in. And the future is the art of the possible; what we can dream today to make it happen tomorrow. If technology is the springboard into the future, photography is the canvas for capturing emotions; moments of the present that ground my sense of creative freedom that thereby help me think about the future. I personally think they go hand in hand and if anything are complimentary.

LM: What do you think about global culture? Does being internationally recognized also make you feel cosmopolitan? 

SS: Ever since I was young, I was fascinated by the world outside; the traditions of the world different from mine, the provenance of things and the anthropology of people. I think being born in Mumbai and having lived in India for the first 20 years of my life has much to do with it. Today more than ever before, global culture is the pedestal of what tomorrow will bring, how people will come together or separate and how our planet will be reshaped. The citizens of the world have a moral responsibility towards the greater good and small feats of recognition or influence can be building blocks to a bigger movement.

LM: You were born in Mumbai, lived in New Delhi, in the UK, in Boston, and now you are based in NYC. How has living between different cultures shaped your character?

SS:  I’ve kind of felt like a superhero with secret powers! Over the years, it has helped me toughen up and smoothen the edges but most importantly, it has helped me see things differently. Imagine seeing things one-way but registering them in a forth dimension. Hence, the secret power! Having lived in two different cultures has given me a renewed sense of discovery, may it be into topics such as behavioral therapy, food physiology, character study, rites and rituals, or even everyday pleasantries. So much of yourself is shaped in the early years of your childhood; everything else is simply strengthening the foundation.

LM: What is the message of your art?

SS: Art has the power to change minds, thoughts and perceptions without having to say anything at all. We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded by the day-to-day realities brought to us by the multitude of news sources. Art for me is a silent revolution; sacred and personal to one’s point of view. It’s a medium for self-expression and a study inward reflected by what’s outward. My work focuses on the underlying narrative of people and the environments they live in and largely surround themes around scale, sense of place, minimalism and identity with traits of strong favorability to color and a nod to design and composition.