Art June 22, 2011 By Rachel A Maggart

Installation view Hall (Okiishi, Mauss, Strau)

Nick Mauss 'I want it undetectable by others in my voice', 2011. All photos are by 1857, Oslo.

nm title2 Nobody Can Tell the Why of It
Esperanza Rosales is a curator. In the traditional sense of collecting and explicating artists’ work under one venue auspice, but also in her own medium, wherein she mounts, rearranges, and deconstructs text on a page. In life we almost accept words as metaphors, but in writing they become even clumsier frameworks.
     “Like the languages that we speak, there will always be slips, inaccuracies, inadequacies, misunderstanding, certain lacks—precisely because they’re invested in ciphering and deciphering, coding and decoding, scripting and unscripting—that veer towards the creation of something new and obscure.”
     These thoughts of Esperanza I can almost feel wafting through her recent exhibition, ‘Nobody Can Tell the Why of It,’ an assimilation of film, drawing, even endless steps. Accidentally (or not) pinpointing a link in Esperanza’s own “scrapbook” process, the show’s title itself is a wink at intertextuality. Presenting works by Nicholas Byrne, Timothy Furey, Ken Okiishi, Nick Mauss, and Josef Strau, ‘Nobody Can Tell the Why of It’ incorporates ideas of mysticism and male hysteria. Not for the faint of heart, but I think I’ll keep this one bookmarked.

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Music June 21, 2011 By Benjamin Gold



bi title Bon Iver: Bon Iver
Listen to For Emma, Forever Ago, Justin Vernon’s breakthrough début as Bon Iver, before you listen to this, his self-titled second album. Those already familiar with For Emma and Vernon’s wounded falsetto, sung over sparse acoustic guitar, might be perplexed to learn Bon Iver takes a different approach. And yet, the two albums are not as drastically different as they seem. For Emma is so successful because of how it totally envelops its listener in Vernon’s sense of loneliness, experienced (as the legend goes) recording his songs in a secluded cabin, during the winter, while sick and getting over a breakup. Bon Iver communicates its feelings just as well, but things are more hopeful, here, like the thaw spring brings after winter. A rising drum-roll boldly proclaims itself on the Bon Iver’s opening track, “Perth”, making it immediately clear Vernon is venturing into new musical territory. The drums are soon fleshed out by horns and electric guitar, and create a rousing climax.
filler29 Bon Iver: Bon Iver

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Design, Greenspace, film June 20, 2011 By Jordan Sayle

All images are courtesy of WestMidWest Productions

All images are courtesy of WestMidWest Productions

ec title2 The Electric Car Takes Charge
Not all summer blockbuster sequels are created equally. One of the most anticipated popcorn films this season happens to be a low-budget documentary. It has no special effects, unless you count driving to work without a drop of gasoline, and the only superheroes to be found are the ones tinkering in garages or design labs. Thankfully, nothing explodes in “Revenge of the Electric Car” though the movie arrives in theaters just as an electric-powered boom may at long last be upon us.
     The film’s director, Chris Paine tells PLANET that six years after revealing the story of General Motors’s decision to recall the EV1 in the whodunit “Who Killed the Electric Car?” he welcomed the chance to chronicle the auto industry’s redemptive change of heart regarding the electric vehicle.
     “I saw this as a rare opportunity as a storyteller to chart a big reversal in an industry where they went from actively trying to kill it to reviving it and even championing it,” the director says, speaking of the variety of cars that are charged overnight through a wall outlet. The long-term prognosis for these electrics looks a lot better now than it did in 2005 at the time of the first film’s release. That’s thanks largely to the changing conditions that drivers are facing, all of which point to the need for an alternative to the gas-powered vehicle.

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Architecture, Books June 16, 2011 By Nalina Moses


Symbiotic Interlock, Chicago. By Meta-Territory_Studio (Daekwon Park).

utopia title Utopia Forever
Earlier this summer, at a city council meeting in Cupertino, California, Steve Jobs unveiled a surprisingly static rendering for the new Apple corporate headquarters. It showed an big, glass donut-shaped building set down in a lush, edenic garden. (Perhaps some of the company’s gifted product designers can be brought on board to assist.) It was a textbook example of old-school utopian architecture, a gleaming, geometric structure sheltering a privileged, self-sustaining community. And it was strangely backward-looking, reminiscent of happy utopian visions from the 1960’s, like Buckminster Fuller’s domes, that expressed an unquestioning faith in the power of technology.
     The new book “Utopia Forever,” which collects contemporary designs, both buildable and far-from-buildable, for future cities and landscapes, offers a far more ominous view. These are visions of a world where nature and technology are locked in continual battle, with nature more likely to come out on top. Now that we’re experiencing the first rattlings of global warming, troubled by extreme weather and dwindling natural resources, we’re more aware of the brute power embodied in earth, air and water. So the new utopias don’t offer blueprints for ideal communities so much as fundamental propositions for survival. Some are vessels floating above or sunk beneath rising oceans.

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Events, film June 15, 2011 By Sarah Coleman

familia The Human Rights Watch Film FestivalSC title The Human Rights Watch Film Festival
It can be hard, sometimes, to wrap our heads around the injustice faced by people overseas. We know that countries like Iran, Afghanistan and Burma are repressive places, but news stories about them can seem a little abstract and faraway. Without personal stories, we’re left with just a vague sense of what the injustice means.
     That’s where an event like the Human Rights Watch Film Festival comes in. Now in its 22nd year, the festival (which takes place from June 16-30 in New York) shows how individuals are affected by repression and injustice. Powerful and personal, these films take us beyond the surface, looking into the lives of ordinary people with insight, sensitivity and humor.
     You might get a chill, for example, when you watch the story of Naty, a Peruvian maid working in Spain to support her family–then realize that plenty of Natys have cleaned your room and brought you food. Mikael Wiström and Alberto Herskovits’ film Familia shows Naty’s intense loneliness and the price paid by her family in Peru, especially her young son. It’s a story that’s heartbreakingly familiar, yet intensely individual too.

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Music June 9, 2011 By Timothy Gunatilaka

Warp Records

Warp Records

b title2 Battles: Gloss Drop
These New York experimentalists have followed up their much loved debut Mirrored without de facto front-man Tyondai Braxton. And while Braxton’s absence certainly makes for a different experience on Gloss Drop, the trio confidently marches onward with the aid of electro-rock pioneer Gary Numan, Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino, Boredoms’ Yamantaka Eye, and Chilean producer Matias Aguayo providing vocals. On “Ice Cream”, stilted guitars adorned with cartoon-y blips and beeps present a poppy revision of the group’s gonzo instrumentals from their earliest EPs. Meanwhile, Yamantaka Eye’s singing on “Sundome” marks perhaps the most surreal moment on the album — which is saying a lot, given Gloss Drop’s nonstop teeter toward chaos. Amid twinkling electronics, Eye’s almighty voice is digitally distorted to evoke a feeling that seems both deific and dystopian. On instrumental tracks, such as “Futura”, slick riffs befitting some spy film meet foreboding organs before giving way to tropical accents. The effect is both confusing and mesmerizing — a constant clash of sleek, sinister, and sunny moods that pervades the entire record.

Buy this at Other Music or iTunes. After the jump, check out the video for “Ice Cream”, featuring Matias Aguayo.


Art June 8, 2011 By Editors

jp 1 Jacob Perlmutterjp title1 Jacob Perlmutter
Jacob Permutter placed fourth in the portrait category of our 3rd annual Global Travel Photo Contest. He is a photographer and filmmaker based in London. His photographic work includes 88 Days, a photo-essay shot in the US, paying homage to Robert Frank’s The Americans, which was exhibited in London. Jacob is currently editing images from a recent two-month trip through India. His latest short film, French Exchange, shot in Dijon, is in post-production. “I love working in different countries. The difference in locations and people waken the senses and provide an exotic and exciting platform to tell human stories.”

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Art June 7, 2011 By Editors

george 1 George Simhonigeorge title George Simhoni
George Simhoni placed fourth in the general category of our 3rd annual Global Travel Photo Contest. He has been recognized as a leader in the photography field throughout his award winning career. “If I can stop someone and give them a momentary thoughtful pause, a smile, or a thought, then I have accomplished my mission.”

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Art, Book, Greenspace June 6, 2011 By Jordan Sayle

g 17 A Garden Grows in Japang title1 A Garden Grows in Japan

The Japanese comics known as manga can be repurposed in any number of ways. From Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s emotive everyday characters to Naoko Takeuchi’s “magical girl” super-heroines, there is seemingly endless variety in the current offerings of the country’s illustrated tradition. Rarely, though, does the form break so completely from the conventions of plot, structure, and characterization as in the work of Yuichi Yokoyama. Instead, the celebrated artist tends to focus on form itself.
     In the brand new English translation of his latest graphic novel Garden, published by PictureBox, Yokoyama constructs a fantasyland of geometric shapes and mechanized systems that bring to mind what might result if a Conceptual sculptor in the mold of Claes Oldenburg was hired to design a children’s playscape. Yokoyama’s garden abandons shrubs and flowers in favor of materials evoking modern industries. He fills the pages with disassembled airplanes and stacks of boats; conical mountains of paper and buildings made from cloth.
     Odd it may be, but what the artist seems to be drawing on these pages is an equivalence between the products of nature that would occupy a more Edenic garden and the machines that have come to inform contemporary living. It’s a connection both in design and mystique. Specimens from either group can appear to operate independently, managed by interior forces which make them all the more remarkable to those lacking knowledge of their inner workings.

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FLAKE HOUSE, 2006. By OLGGA Architectes.

mg title2 Micro Green
Is the small house the new McMansion? With our diminishing faith in the economy and growing passion for sustainability, big, splashy houses have lost much of their luster and small, uniquely-designed homes are becoming increasingly desirable. Mimi Zeiger’s book “Micro Green: Tiny Houses in Nature” collects some innovative new designs that are small in scale but not it attitude.
     Short of not building anything new at all, building at a smaller scale is the surest way to reduce a building’s environmental impact. Smaller buildings use less materials and energy, and are less disruptive to native ecologies. Small houses call on designers for expert space planning. And they call on the people living inside of it to make some significant lifestyle adjustments, like using a single space for multiple purposes, and keeping and storing fewer things. There’s simply no room for dining rooms, linen closets, and hot tubs. These homes also require a fundamental emotional shift, accepting that a small house doesn’t compromise one’s identity or quality of life. In that sense small house living has a lot in common with apartment living, something that city-dwellers are already accustomed to.

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