I took advantage of a recent dental appointment in Adelaide's CBD to walk the city and to try and make some photographic urbanscapes. I started out from my base in the Adelaide Central Market where I'd had my morning coffee and went nto the Pitt Street carpark to check out Franklin St:
I thought that I'd return to some of my old locations in the various car parks that I'd visited and explored when I lived in the city prior to 2015 and this was a good a way as any to gain a quick perspective on how the CBD had changed, if at all, between 2015 and 2022.
I was aware that the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019-20 had a big impact on the CBD, especially with respect to the closure of small businesses, such as the cafe's and restaurants; or the empty offices due to people continuing to work from home. But what of the architecture in the way of the construction of new buildings in this period?
The new buildings are there. The plain, functionalist glass office towers (modernist?) are situated in a streetscape of 19th century buildings, some of which are heritage listed. So it wasn't just all high rise apartments that had been built in this period as I'd initially thought. Adelaide's CBD was undergoing rapid change.
Whilst photographing the urbanscapes I kept on thinking how low the arts or culture were valued in our society. Art seemed to be only valued if it was a creative industry that provided jobs, growth and profit. The creative kind of photography about walking Adelaide was not a creative industry: it was just me doing it myself and not as a business working for a client. This photography wasn't even entrepreneurial or innovative (the neo-liberal understanding of creative) apart from the Walking Adelaide website on Square Space that is currently being constructed. So it had no value. The best that would be said was that it was a hobby which as a form of self-expression. was good because it kept me active, mentally alert and engaged with everyday life.
This flaw with this approach to art is that it doesn't engage with this kind of photography image as works of art are about something, and that works of art accordingly have sensuously embodied meaning. This photography is a kind of critical or reflective inquiry about the city with the photographic image embodying meaning about Adelaide. This means that this photography has significance beyond individual self-expression.
This reflective aesthetics with its roots in Hegel's Lectures on Aesthetics is an inquiry approach by an art as sense-making that arises from living in our pervasive culture of modern reflexivity in late modernity. This culture inaugurates a shift in both how the artist themselves understands the function of artwork, and how the audience of the artwork understand the function of artist and artwork. What aesthetic experience now consists of is no longer pure sensuous enjoyment or free play of imagination under an indeterminate telos; rather, this form of experience is now fundamentally reflective and the artist conveys powerful social meaning through aesthetic content.my casein