Recent changes in the world have been undeniably profound, shifting mindsets, economies, and behaviors. In such periods of uncertainty, perhaps it is wise to focus on what we do know: the power of creativity and the strength of collective action.
In this second issue of Afterimage's Volume 47, we explore several such individual and communal efforts documented just pre-pandemic. What this coverage and these works show is ongoing, longstanding attention to global issues, and commitments to problem solving and collaboration. The contributions to this issue position contemporary visual culture within larger trends and histories, exploring both making and the making of meaning—and all resonate with the shared situation we found ourselves in as this issue was being compiled.
Marc Herbst reports on acts of political becoming within the framework of Jonas Staal and Florian Malzacher's Training for the Future, which focuses on political and social critique. Andrea Liss shares her experience of lauren woods's American Monument at the Beall Center for Art+Technology at the University of California, Irvine, a project that embodies institutionalized policies of racial injustice in a particularly visceral manner. K. Johnson Bowles discovers the egalitarian and dystopian possibilities of a posthumanist future offered by Designs for Different Futures at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Yoli Terziyska looks at the Age of You at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Toronto, which explores the “metamorphosis of human individuality in the age of advancing technology.” In Unexpected Encounters, organized by the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, contemporary visual artists exhibited work inspired by science fiction writers who wrestle with such issues as colonization, race, gender inequality, and oppression, as Jacquelyn Davis details. Joo Yun Lee reviews Dumb Type: Actions + Reflections, on display in Tokyo, which reveals the living legacy of the titular 35-year-old Japanese intermedia collective. Jeannie Simms looks at Becca Albee's homage to the lineage of an influential mentor at MIT List Visual Arts Center.
Two recent book-length publications are reviewed in this issue as well. Stephanie Amon reviews How to Do Things with Affects: Affective Triggers in Aesthetic Forms and Cultural Practices, a collection of essays by mostly European contributors from the fields of literary and media studies, philosophy, cultural studies, and aesthetics edited by Ernst van Alphen and Tomáš Jirsa. H. R. Buechler engages with Material Noise: Reading Theory as Artist's Book by theorist, educator, and artist Anne M. Royston.
This issue also includes the latest iteration of what is becoming a regular and significant feature of the journal: a dossier bringing together experts to discuss the multivalent aspects surrounding one topic. This issue covers myriad areas of focus falling under the theme of “Visual Culture and the Climate Crisis,” with essays covering ecologies from Brazil to Greenland, and media from photography to film to farms, ultimately navigating current threats but also highlighting the potential power of individuals and collectives as creative, active citizens of the world.
As a final note, with the September 2020 issue, we will begin publishing a section of peer-reviewed feature articles in every quarterly issue. Our international editorial board is reviewing submissions on an ongoing basis and we welcome submissions for peer review any time. If you have comments, ideas, or proposals concerning peer review or any aspect of the publication, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take good care,