Aesthetic Journalism generally involves artistic practices used to investigate social, cultural and political circumstances. Artists, like journalists, often use tools of investigation, such as field research and surveys, to gain more information on their topic. The end result of this research is then usually displayed in the art context, for example a documentary style video, graphic visuals or photography. An artist’s work often offers a grasp on reality, relying on the viewer’s receptivity. Aesthetics are the process in which we open our sensibilities to the diversity of the forms of nature and convert them into a tangible experience. It may sound confusing but for some it is just a natural response. Just think of all the times you have viewed art, more often than not it becomes more of a physical and sensory experience. You are more in touch with the way the work makes you feel. You can grasp fragments of represented truths and build upon them yourself. Engaging your own perceptions, producing your own actions and experiencing awareness to your impulses.
When you intake your daily digest of representation via TV and newspapers, do you feel connected to the news story? Does it evoke a sensory experience? Does it make you feel aware of your feelings towards the topic? Do you feel as if you get to build your own interpretive perspective? Maybe not… the current trend of event reporting is problematic for this very reason. There is no space for critical distance. The information is produced, distributed and absorbed. Mainstream journalism is almost stuck in a world of familiar narrative forms that continue to reoccur in the routine of daily news. Mainstream journalists are experiencing the responsibility to tell one truth from an individual point of view. So if journalism at large is a view of the world, of what happens within it and its representations, then aesthetics is rather a view of the view.
Flusser (2000) says we need to query not the way art and journalism transforms the world but the way they can transform the meaning of the world. Does creativity have the power to generate a space for communication where before there was none? For centuries art has had the ability to evoke discussion and validate topics that are deemed too uncomfortable or unacceptable for the news arena. Art doesn’t deliver us information like journalism rather it questions information. It does not replace the journalistic perspective with a new one, but rather extends the possibility of understanding. If artists continue to challenge the aesthetic view could they tempt mainstream journalism out of it’s repetitive routine, into a new approach?
Cramerotti, Alfredo, 2011, “What is Aesthetic Journalism”, Aesthetic Journalism: How to Inform Without Informing, Intellect, London