Greenspace December 30, 2009 By Carly Miller

fillers16 BK farmsbkfarm cover BK farmsfillers16 BK farmsbkfarm title BK farms

In the 1800s, Brooklyn and Queens had the highest density of agricultural land in New York City. Today, the city landscape has changed, with total unused land of about 10,000 acres, all broken up into thousands of vacant lots, private backyards, and underutilized squares. Space in New York City is a highly valuable commodity. Walking down any city street, one can see urban dwellers creatively squeezing every inch out of the precious space they occupy. To BK Farmyards, a Brooklyn-based urban farming business, these structural limitations are the seedlings for a radical, community-based farming solution to food-sustainability issues.
     Contrary to our current chemical and land intensive agri-business model, it doesn’t take a lot of land to feed people — 250 square feet can feed 4-5 people for 6 months, according to BK Farmyards owner Stacey Murphy. BK Farmyards converts underutilized urban land, from private backyards to traffic circles, into edible gardens that grow crops, culture, and community. Their vision is large social change through use of tiny spaces: transforming the design and function of small plots into a decentralized, agricultural network connecting food producers, landowners, and consumers.

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Fashion December 29, 2009 By Andy Wass
minimalcover Digna

minimal title Digna

Minimal Dress, perhaps the most aptly-named collection I’ve ever seen, is the creation of conceptual Dutch designer Digna Kosse. Her final project at the Design Academy Eindhoven, Minimal Dress is a commentary on the grouping of clothing collections into seasons that renders fashion obsolete after just a few months. It’s also a two-fold meditation on materialism, with a focus on the actual “material” aspect. A little artistic, a little satirical, the pieces are mere sketches of dresses, a few strands of yarn or string knotted together to draw lines across and down the body. Of course, the average shopper probably wouldn’t wear the pieces as the look book shots depict. For practicality’s sake, the “dresses” might be more apt for an accessory or even a wall decoration. While the dresses are barely there, the presentation seems to avoid sexual provocation. Lisa Klappe’s photos feature the Minimal Dress pieces of women of average build, not vamping it up, just letting the dresses hang on them. 

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Greenspace December 29, 2009 By Valentin Santos Miller

copenhagen cover Copenhagen Twofillers14 Copenhagen Twocopenhagentwo title Copenhagen Two

As a follow-up to Anthony Smith’s mid-conference coverage of the climate talks in Copenhagen, check out this excellent article by journalist Mark Lynas on The Guardian website. This is a must-read for anyone baffled by the outcome of the talks (i.e., the lack of a credible, binding agreement) when so many nations seemed prepared, for once, to act. Especially interesting in light of how the early fallout has settled on Barack Obama. The title says a lot:
How do I know China wrecked the Copenhagen deal? I was in the room.

Fashion December 23, 2009 By Eugene Rabkin

noeditions cover No Editionsnoeditions title2 No Editions

Ever wanted to own something truly unique? Now you can. No Editions, a new label designed by Christian Niessen and Nicole Lachelle, takes inimitability to a new level. The idea behind their designs is deceptively simple: take high quality garments with basic shapes and put prints on them. No two prints are alike, so you get a one-of-a-kind finished garment with a numbered label. No duplicate will ever be produced, not even in a different size or shape.
     Niessen and Lachelle met in the early 90s while working for the iconic Austrian designer Helmut Lang in Vienna. Several years after Lang was bought by Prada, they decided to strike out on their own, doing technical research for various clothing companies. After that Niessen and Lachelle started producing video installations. The idea for No Editions came out of their desire to translate the transience of the moving image into something less ephemeral. They also did not want to play the fashion game – no catwalk shows, no seasonal collections, and no advertising. “I never bought into the idea of ‘a lifestyle,’” says Niessen. “I don’t care about projecting an image. I want the wearer to make the garment her own.”
     All prints are produced through extensive manipulation of videos. Niessen is fascinated with the amount of information on the Internet and its malleability. For the next round of prints he used websites where one could access public cameras for a short period of time and record raw video footage.

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Music December 18, 2009 By Timothy Gunatilaka
ac fallbekind coverart Animal Collective: Fall Be Kind
Domino Records

animalcollective title Animal Collective: Fall Be Kind

Having already released twenty or so records the past decade, the four prolific members of Animal Collective have put out a new EP just as January’s Merriweather Post Pavilion seems to be topping every critic’s year-end list. The Brooklyn-by-way-of-Baltimore band’s five new tracks maintain Animal Collective’s unique flair for progressive music that precariously straddles the line between innovative and inaccessible. Eschewing the latter entirely, however, “What Would I Want? Sky” (which samples the Grateful Dead’s “Unbroken Chain”) mixes carefree harmonies over trippy, carnivalesque noises and eerie atmospherics that, decades from now, could still stand comfortably among the Beach Boys’ and Radiohead’s dreamy classics.

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Buy this at Other Music or iTunes.

Fashion December 16, 2009 By Eugene Rabkin

amoment cover A moment infillers13 A moment inamoment title A moment in

Some time ago, Ann Chapelle, owner and CEO of  BV32, a company that runs Belgian fashion houses Ann Demeulemeester and Haider Ackermann, was pondering the state of the fashion industry. She hardly liked what she saw – a world dominated by marketing and designers diluting their brands by sticking their name on anything from house paint to helicopters. In this world, branding trumped quality, and young designers could hardly develop their own voice.
     To change the status quo Chapelle created a new project, called “…a moment in…” At its core is a platform for creating and distributing clothes and accessories – “… a moment in…” is neither a fashion house subjected to the whims of a star designer, nor is it another uninspired luxury goods manufacturer. Its goal is to introduce different lines of products in limited quantities, concentrating on design and quality. Each line, introduced at six-month intervals and then continuously run, will address different market segments. Each will be created by a young designer, and allow the expression his or her vision. “One of the reasons I wanted to create this project is that there are so many young talented designers who struggle to get on their feet,” Chapelle says. ”This project allows them to apply their skills.” At the same time, each designer will have the support of a team of nine professionals familiar with different aspects of the business, handpicked by Chapelle herself. The first line, women’s knitwear, was launched in March 2009. The heavy wool and cashmere knit pieces are cozy, understated, and luxurious.

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Music December 15, 2009 By Editors
phoenix 400 Best Albums of 2009
Glassnote Records

fillers17 Best Albums of 2009planet yearreview Best Albums of 2009

With the new year approaching, we at PLANET wanted to share our favorite music from the past twelve months. And while there were many worthy contenders, the unanimous pick among the editors as the year’s best record is Phoenix’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. After three albums that seemed to revolve chiefly around a set of artfully crafted, boundary-pushing pop singles, the French four-piece has finally released work that — from first song to last — taps into a potential that has been itching to burst out in full for years. As we wrote in May:
     Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix marks possibly the quartet’s most complete record to date. Its ten tracks may not vastly depart from the band’s now dependable sound, but [Thomas] Mars’ swooning croon and the band’s soft-rock polish mixed with some modest doses of spiky guitar-work (invoking the Strokes) and disco synths (partly guided by album co-producer and “fifth member” Philippe Zdar of Cassius-fame) reach their zenith on “1901”, “Fences”, and “Lisztomania”, among other such standouts. “The more we do music the more we want to do something that no other bands can do,” Mars modestly proclaims. (Check out the full interview with the band here as well as a stream of “Lisztomania” below.)

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And after the jump, we present the rest of our top fifteen albums of 2009 (with streaming audio).

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Greenspace December 15, 2009 By Anthony Smith

copenhagen cover Copenhagenfillers14 Copenhagencopenhagen title Copenhagen

As we watch the climate talks in Copenhagen continue toward their conclusion, many of us are left wondering if there is any legitimate potential for a real solution to the global climate crisis (or any global crisis for that matter) to be found in the process of international deal-making. Political debate and international diplomacy are, by their very natures, focused on the establishment of positions and the art of compromise, and as one of the more popular protest signs carried in the Copenhagen crowd so poignantly reminded us: “Nature Does Not Compromise”. As in, perhaps we’ll find a workable political solution for greenhouse gas emissions standards that all the nations of the world can happily agree to and we may establish a sizeable global fund for mitigating the damage to “at risk” societies and financing the implementation of new environmental technologies in developing nations; we might even get the whole of human civilization to give itself one giant collective hug. And yet the planet may not find our cuddly compromises the least bit convincing, and may in fact drop a hurricane on our heads or unleash a drought on our crops and a famine on our families and be done with us altogether.

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Art December 15, 2009 By Damien Lennon
bacon page3 Bacon

bacon title Bacon

Following two major centenary exhibitions at the Met and the Tate, Francis Bacon is now being treated to a singularly forensic homage in his native Dublin. The artist was already the subject of a rather bizarre homecoming in 1998 when the entire contents of his London studio, down to the very dust on the floor, were shipped permanently to Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane. To mark his 100th birthday, a huge selection of objects, including paint materials, unfinished and destroyed works, rarely seen paintings, photographs, magazines, books, notes, and vinyl records are now on display until March 7, 2010.
     In 1998 Bacon’s sole heir, John Edwards, bequeathed the studio. After a quasi-archaeological removal process and some initial cataloguing, it was opened to the public in 2001, becoming a major cultural attraction on the Dublin circuit. However, eight more years of painstaking research have come to show precisely what the studio contents can tell us about Bacon’s processes and preoccupations. This is the international significance of the event. In essence, Francis Bacon: A Terrible Beauty provides new insight into the source materials, techniques, and themes of one of the greatest modern figurative painters, debunking a few of his own myths to boot.
     Over almost twenty rooms and two floors, visitors are able to grasp the magnitude of the archives. For Bacon enthusiasts they are replete with biographical and technical gems.

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Design, Fashion December 14, 2009 By Charlie Fish
uncommon cover unCommon

uncommonmatters title unCommon

When Uncommon Matters debuted its line of couture porcelain accessories, designers Amelie Riech and Jana Patz cheekily complemented the showroom installation with a soundtrack of breaking and clattering porcelain to underscore the fragility of their award-winning designs. The “Handle with Care” collection, as it is called, adeptly merges the idea of traditional crafts and materials taking shape to become an entirely new, modern creation.
     A man’s stiff shirt collar, for instance, becomes the inspiration for a series of platinized neckpieces, creating striking — and reflective — accessories that could perhaps be seen as a variation on the “boyfriend shirt” look. An entirely porcelain necklace, on the other hand, is designed with chain links in mind, and delicately clinks and clanks when in motion. Chunky porcelain bracelets and sleek neck cuffs round out the product line, which has continually graced the pages of many a fashion editorial in 2009.

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