Architecture April 24, 2012 By Nalina Moses

Scott Newkirk House, Yulan, NY / Copyright 2012 Kodiak Greenwood

Scott Newkirk House, Yulan, NY / Copyright 2012 Kodiak Greenwood

olsenheadergood Richard Olsen
When the back-to-the-earth movement first took hold in the 1960’s and 70’s, a great number of people abandoned their subdivisions and cities and set out to build their own homes. Today, as Americans grow more passionate about sustainability, home remodeling, and artisinal craft, it seems like the perfect moment to look back at the handmade house movement and also at the houses themselves. A new book, Handmade Houses, by Richard Olsen, does exactly that.

Olsen revisited first-wave handmade houses around the world, many of which are now thirty and forty years old. Built lovingly and exuberantly from timber, fieldstone, plaster, and sod, these aren’t the kinds of houses that adorn typical coffee table books. The book’s warm, personal narratives and sumptuous photographs are pleasing, and at the same time offer some powerful, countercultural propositions about lifestyle, aesthetics and design. These are houses that were built one-at-a-time without regard for conventional styles, with an eye to the character of the owner rather than the demands of the market.

Olsen recently shared his ideas with Planet about the origins of the handmade houses movement, its relevance today, and his own quest to build a handmade house.

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Greenspace April 19, 2012 By Jordan Sayle

1972 Campaign Poster

1972 Campaign Poster

gooooodheadernixon Nixon 2012
As an unwritten policy, Planet’s Greenspace features tend to steer clear of the hot-button political debates of the moment. Concern for our environment may have unavoidable political implications, but we’re generally more likely to use this page to provide photo depictions of the Appalachian Trail than reports from the campaign trail. This Earth Day, however, I’m breaking from tradition and using today’s column to make a rare endorsement.

After years of inaction on the pressing environmental issues of our time, the country needs a president with bold ideas and a vision for the long-term protection of our resources and lands. We need a president willing to talk about change in the context of climate. We need someone willing to think outside of the fossil fuel-powered box and “go big,” as they say, offering a shock to the system in the spirit of “Nixon goes to China.” It is for those reasons that I’m stepping outside the parameters of my own box to support Richard Nixon for president in 2012.

This April 22nd marks 18 years since Nixon died, so I suppose my endorsement has little value. Ignoring that complication, there’s also the fact that he resigned in disgrace the last time around. But let’s not forget the full legacy of our 37th president. Before Watergate, there was the Clean Water Act, which turns 40 later this year.

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Art April 18, 2012 By Editors

Arhuaco Man, Colombia 2011 © Robert Presutti

Arhuaco Man, Colombia 2011 © Robert Presutti

robertpheader Robert Presutti
Robert Presutti is one of this year’s Global Travel photo contest winners. He has been working and living in New York City for the past 18 years. A large part of his work is dedicated to travel. Assignments have taking him to countries like Italy, France, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Georgia, Japan, Mexico, Colombia etc… In the past two years he has been working on two major projects, one in Colombia, in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta with the Kogi and Arhuaco indians for a future exhibit at the Smithsonian and the other project in Georgia with the nuns of the Phoka monastery. Robert also contributes to the New York Times regularly.

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Art April 18, 2012 By Editors

Four boys running down Dirt Road, Omo Valley, Ethiopia. © Andrew Geiger

Four boys running down Dirt Road, Omo Valley, Ethiopia. © Andrew Geiger

geigerheaderV3 Andrew Geiger
Andrew Geiger placed second in the portrait category of this year’s Global Travel Photo Contest with an image from his ongoing work documenting the many vanishing cultures of the world. Geiger recently returned from the Rajasthan region of India, where he witnessed the inevitable disappearance of its traditional dress and ancient customs. “I have realized from my travels that documenting these places and people will be the only way for my children to experience the native customs the younger generation from these places are shunning,” he tells PLANET. Although he travels extensively, Geiger still has yet to find a place as beautiful and special as his home state of Montana, where he lives with his family.

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Art April 17, 2012 By Editors

THIRD PLACE © Lung Liu Lung

THIRD PLACE © Lung Liu Lung

title87 Lung Liu Lung
Lung Liu won fourth place in the portrait category of our 4th Annual Global Travel Photo Contest. Liu is a photographer working out of Vancouver, Canada who’s produced in-depth studies of Thailand, Vietnam, and Haiti after the earthquake. He was born in Vietnam between two conflicts, and spent time in a refugee camp as a child before being sponsored by a church to live in Canada. A road trip down the majestic US west coast inspired him to travel internationally for photography.

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Art April 16, 2012 By Editors

THIRD PLACE © Juliette Charvet

THIRD PLACE © Juliette Charvet

headerjuliettecharvette Juliette Charvet
Juliette Charvet placed third in the general category of our 4th annual Global Travel Photo Contest. Juliette is a French photographer based in New York City, specializing in street and travel photography. After graduating from the Paris School of Journalism, she spent over a year in Vietnam and Lebanon, perfecting her photographic skills at the news agency AFP. She now travels extensively with her camera, always trying to capture the world in its most comprehensive authenticity. “To me, travel photography is about seeing our surroundings with wonderment,” she says.

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film April 13, 2012 By Marina Zogbi
Whit Stillman (director) on set Photo by Kerry Brown, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Whit Stillman (director) on set
Photo by Kerry Brown, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

stillmanheader2 Whit Stillman
Filmmaker Whit Stillman’s small, idiosyncratic body of work is highly regarded, even venerated, by a discerning group of moviegoers. Arch, witty dialogue; cheerful but flawed characters; and a touch of social commentary mingle easily in his ensemble dramedies. It’s impossible to mistake a Whit Stillman film for anyone else’s.

His first feature, Metropolitan (1990), about a set of young, upper class New Yorkers, was full of razor-sharp dialogue and savage wit, yet it rang true emotionally and was embraced by many from less privileged backgrounds. Barcelona (1994), starring Taylor Nichols and beloved Stillman favorite Chris Eigeman, was a similar comedy of manners, but set abroad with considerably raised dramatic stakes. The relatively big-budget The Last Days of Disco (1998), starring Chloë Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale, along with Eigeman, may have been a box office disappointment, but it too boasted sharp dialogue, excellent performances, and engrossingly imperfect characters – the Stillman trifecta.

Which brings us (14 years later) to Damsels in Distress, a more lighthearted film, though set in a somewhat familiar milieu – an insular East Coast college campus – and featuring typically self-important yet fragile characters. Actress of the moment Greta Gerwig stars as Violet, ringleader of a group of girls who are figuring out their love lives while trying to save their fellow students from depression, bad odors and general low standards, mainly through dancing. Though Taylor Nichols has a small role as a teacher, Eigeman is noticeably absent.

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Art April 13, 2012 By Editors

THIRD PLACE © Ian Spanier

THIRD PLACE © Ian Spanier

spaniernewheader Ian Spanier
Ian Spanier placed third in the portrait category of our 3rd Annual Global Travel Photo Contest. Ian Spanier, a NY based photograper, began taking photographs at six years old when his parents gave him his first point and shoot camera. Ian’s first full book of published work, Playboy, a Guide to Cigars arrived in cigar shops November 2009 and the public version hit retail stores Spring 2010. The book is a collection of his photographs made in six countries spanning two and a half years. His newest book project, Local Heroes: America’s Volunteer Fire Fighters, a collection of portraits made across the US is due out Fall 2012. Ian credits much of his inspiration to the original masters of photography as they shot what they saw. For him, there is no “one” subject that he photographs; he also chooses to shoot what he sees.

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Events, Music April 11, 2012 By Isis Madrid

kraftwerkpost2 Kraftwerkheader9 Kraftwerk
Strap on your bleep bloops and fire up your bloop bleeps because the O.G. electro-pioneers known as Kraftwerk are playing at New York’s Museum of Modern Art every single day for the entirety of this week, Tuesday to Tuesday. The legendary German outfit will be performing Kraftwerk – Retrospective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8, a sonic and visual exhibit of almost their entire catalog: one album at a time, one night at a time in the Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium.

When they first came about in 1970, Kraftwerk was like nothing else on the radar. Their futuristic tunes incorporated vocoders and computer speech software, a far cry from the traditional guitar wielding troubadours of the time. Their practically prophetic ability to channel a world steeped in technology and expressed largely via keystrokes and split wires make them one of the most influential bands, ever. Today, their impact is felt in almost every genre, from auto-tuned love letters to Kim Kardashian by Kanye West to the always lovely bedroom dreampoppers Beach House to Kathleen Hanna’s multimedia electroclash outfit Le Tigre to sweeping synth warrior M83. In 2012, we are all the robots that Kraftwerk predicted four decades ago.

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Art April 11, 2012 By Aiya Ono

Courtesy of Salvage Memory Project

Courtesy of Salvage Memory Project

headerlostandfoundnew Lost and Found
March 11th, 2011 was an unforgettable day for those who witnessed their homes, their schools, and their neighborhoods get swallowed by a massive tsunami. All things familiar disappeared in just a few minutes, leaving people in utter shock. In the town of Yamamoto in Miyagi prefecture, 50% of its surface area was flooded, damaging more than 4,000 buildings. Lying in the mountains of debris were years and years of personal photographs, physical archives of memories that were once taken for granted.

Two months after the quake, research students of the Japan Society for Socio-Information Studies. traveled to Yamamoto and began to collect these photographs and albums. The “Salvage Memory Project” quickly caught the attention of professional archivists and photographers through Twitter and other social media sites, and they offered to help. The task was extremely cumbersome and tedious. The volunteers discovered 750,000 photographs, which were cleaned and put into Google’s image archive service Picasa. With Picasa’s technology, the Salvage Memory Project was able to create a system in which photographs could be searched by either facial recognition or keyword. As a result, out of 750,000 photographs recovered, 19,200 were returned to their owners.

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