Greenspace December 14, 2012 By Jordan Sayle

Ditte Isager/©Hachette Book Group, Inc.

Ditte Isager/©Hachette Book Group, Inc.

andrew weil1 Andrew Weil, MD

The question What should we have for dinner? has never been so difficult to answer. A new exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History presents a survey of the diversity in tastes, growing techniques, and methods of cooking that have satisfied appetites across cultures and centuries. It’s hard to consider this broad range of agricultural and culinary trends past and present and not come to the conclusion that ours is one of the more transformational periods in the history of food. Genetic modifications to crops, which were the subject of the recently defeated Proposition 37 ballot measure in California, represent only one way in which our foods are changing. More broadly, our entire approach to eating is being modified.

That monumental shift is due largely to a growing consciousness of the connections drawn between food and health being made in the context of strained food supplies in a changing climate. The health and wellness proponent Dr. Andrew Weil recently published a cookbook called True Food in which he argues that meals made from sustainable and wholesome ingredients can be both flavorful and easy. Dr. Weil spoke to PLANET about the common sense principles that he and his partners Sam Fox and Michael Stebner have followed in building a small empire of health food restaurants and the larger currents that have informed his thoughts about food in a world waking up to a new era of eating.

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Music May 16, 2012 By Lily Moayeri

postoption11 Black Seedsblacktitle Black Seeds
This New Zealand collective has Jamaican blood pumping through its veins. The fifth album from the Black Seeds, Dust And Dirt, maintains the group’s signature reggae-lite sound. Dust and Dirt moves at a leisurely pace that gives it a ready-to-use quality. The grown-up pop, soul touches, and funk sprinklings strung throughout the reggae structure make Dust and Dirt almost easy listening reggae for non-reggae aficionados. The title track with its familiar reggae-by-numbers rhythms exemplifies the Black Seeds’ ethos. This is punctuated by some non-island-accented vocals that bring an unexpected, but welcome, mainstream flavor to Dust and Dirt. This low-key mood persists for most of Dust and Dirt, hitting particularly relaxed tones on “Wide Open.” Just when you’re getting comfortable with the slow grooves, “Loose Cartilage” explodes with a raunchy guitar intro. This falsely works up the listener’s energy which it then drops to a relaxed ‘70s funk swing. “Rusted Story” works similarly with thrusting horns tempering the crunch of the guitars. The Black Seeds may not be breaking any barriers with Dust and Dirt, but they are providing an excellent excuse to lie around and do nothing all summer but listen to them soundtrack the season.


Book, Greenspace March 29, 2012 By Jordan Sayle

Illustration: Mark Hearld/Candlewick Press

Illustration: Mark Hearld/Candlewick Press

earlystart An Early Start
Like it or not, spring is arriving several weeks ahead of schedule in most places this year. The world outside began coming back to life long before the official start of the season and after the very mildest of winters. Time will tell if this is merely a freak aberration or a harbinger of the new normal to come. But since we’re able to venture back outside, the time is ripe to teach our children all about the natural wonders to be found out there. It’s the perfect opportunity to tell them about the events that take place throughout the cycle of the seasons, or at least what things used to be like.
     The recently released illustrated children’s book Outside Your Window is a guide to bird migrations, blooming flowers, foraging squirrels, and so many other yearly phenomena that repeat themselves annually in line with the internal rhythms of the planet. Nicola Davies’ descriptive vignettes and Mark Hearld’s Caldecott Medal-worthy drawings brilliantly capture the astounding magic tricks that the world produces with reliable ease. Whether the scene outside your child’s window is that of rainbows and bucolic pastures of sheep or simply tomatoes being grown on the fire escape, this book celebrates it with an equal measure of awe.

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film December 1, 2011 By Sophie Mollart

126 Wim Wenderstitle73 Wim WendersThe tip tap of dripping water, the vibrations of sinuous, graceful shapes duelling with the containers of water they will scatter across the stage in the quicksilver, freestyle manner of a troop of nimble Jackson Pollocks – these are the dancers of Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal. Later, the dancers will, in turn, swim breast stroke through the stream emblazoned upstage, to the vital, haunting compositions of Jun Miyake.
At the time of her death in December 2009, Bausch was set to be the subject of a documentary directed by her long time friend, filmmaker Wim Wenders. Wenders described to PLANET first encountering Bausch’s work a quarter of a century ago: It was a big day in my life. I was quite unprepared – like many people, I thought dance didn’t concern me. I’d seen some classic dance and was not touched by it, so I didn’t expect much, I tried to resist it, but my girlfriend insisted – so I caved in and was ready for a boring evening, but after about five minutes I found myself on the edge of my seat weeping uncontrollably. I realized this was big, that I’d just discovered something that was really going to change my life. It wasn’t like anything I thought dance could be – it was immediate and contagious and physical and direct – my body understood it before my brain understood it.

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Art, Books, Design August 24, 2011 By Chloe Eichler

Fruit of the Boom (Granate), 2010

Fruit of the Boom (Granate), 2010

si title1 Sarah Illenberger
Good Weather, an exhibit of Berlin-based artist Sarah Illenberger’s photographs at Gelstalten Space through September 11th, is an exercise in dissonance. A simple light bulb, upon a moment’s inspection, turns out to be a pear. A minimalist pair of headphones suddenly reveals itself to be made of two cupcake wrappers strung together. Straightforward in composition, lighting, and sly good nature, an Illenberger still life is lovingly handcrafted to wreak havoc on the viewer’s expectations every time. A halved pomegranate, with only a bit of metal stuck at the top, becomes an instantly recognizable hand grenade—but hasn’t the meat’s rich color, the glisten on the seeds, the plain bloodiness of a pomegranate always spoken to your subconscious of violence? And if it didn’t, won’t it now? The joke in the photos isn’t that you’re seeing a trick object; it’s that you’re seeing two opposing images at once, and neither will yield. Illenberger spoke to PLANET about bringing her contradictions to a gallery space—right down to the name of the show.

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Architecture, Art, Events November 15, 2010 By Nalina Moses

Finland's Shanghai Expo Pavilion, “Kirnu,” by JKMM (Finland), 2010.  Photo: Derryck Menere. (Click to enlarge)

Finland's Shanghai Expo Pavilion, “Kirnu,” by JKMM (Finland), 2010. Photo: Derryck Menere. (Click to enlarge)

Nordic Title New Nordic Design
When the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art chose the Oslo-based architecture office Snohetta to design its addition this summer, it heralded the arrival of a great new wave of Nordic design. Not since the 1960’s, when Americans were lounging around in Verner Panton chairs and Marimekko dresses, has the voice of designers in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden been so prominent internationally.
    An exhibit at Scandinavia House in New York, “Nordic Models + Common Ground: Art and Design Unfolded,” presents a small, intriguing selection of art and design projects. The unique character of modern Nordic design, a formal purity enlivened by gentle eccentricities, has often been attributed to the region’s isolating, rugged geography. Yet even in our present age of global connectedness these qualities remain evident. Each project on display combines forms and materials in unlikely ways. Yet even the strangest of them — like a rap song that outlines urban planning strategies, and light fixtures crafted from the dried skins of codfish — have a palpable warmth: they aren’t ironic.
    In addition, each work on display has a startling formal simplicity, which owes less to a minimalist aesthetic than to the designer’s clarity in concept and economy in execution. This is especially remarkable in the architecture projects. A basic triangular tent module is arrayed to shape an exhibition pavilion. Another, spherical pavilion is clad entirely with flat, scale-like, composite wood shingles.

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Art September 22, 2010 By Jennifer Pappas

TIME was photographed by award winning, Santa Fe based photographer, Julien McRoberts who is renown for her stunning imagery of the Southwest.

Watchers, Rose B. Simpson. TIME was photographed by award winning, Santa Fe based photographer, Julien McRoberts who is renown for her stunning imagery of the Southwest.

time title TIME
Every now and then, a project comes around that belts you in the brain, creating one of those “aha!” moments we all love but can’t anticipate. TIME stands for Temporary Installations Made for the Environment and has been around since 2005. This year’s exhibition is the first under the direction of fine art consultant and gallery owner Eileen Braziel, and was photographed by award-winning Santa Fe-based photographer Julien McRoberts, renowned for her stunning imagery of the Southwest. The state-driven art project (funded by the New Mexico One Percent for the Arts act as part of the Art in Public Places program) has chosen “Green Technologies/Innovative Ideas or Materials” for its 2010 theme and features everything from a hand-painted tipi and adobe windmills to biodegradable glass bowls and solar-powered lights.
     According to Braziel, New Mexico is an ideal setting for the ongoing project. “In New Mexico we understand that the first innovators were the Native Indians and settlers. Solar, wind, and water are the most fundamental elements guiding green technology, and often drive ideas in New Media art installations where artists are using solar panels, LED lights, LED projectors, etc.” Additional materials used in the exhibit include traditional adobe bricks, earth, seed, biodegradable soap and recycled metals from the Los Alamos Laboratory. A barcode located on the plaque of each installation allows viewers to download free information about each artist using their phones, completely eliminating the use of paper.

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filler47 Housing for Haiti

Habitat Core Housing

A Core House for Haiti, by Habitat for Humanity

filler47 Housing for Haitihaitihousingtitle Housing for Haiti

The numbers are numbing. The January 12 earthquake in Haiti left approximately 1.2 million people homeless, 600,000 of them in the capital city of Port-au-Prince. As the rain and hurricane season begins this month many are still living in shelters constructed from scrap wood and tarps, in informal settlements without adequate power and sanitation.
     While the Haitian government oversees long-term redevelopment, private and non-governmental agencies (NGO’s) are taking the lead to provide housing. Some are focusing on overarching strategic work, using their expertise to support other organizations. Architecture for Humanity has developed open-source guidelines for rebuilding, established Community Resource Centers to support NGO builders in the field, and is planning to rebuild schools. The San Francisco based organization Build Change has established simple technical standards for earthquake-resistant construction to guide local and NGO builders.
     Many NGO’s are working directly to put up housing. The initial drive is to provide temporary shelters so that people can survive the hurricane season. Teams are searching for quick and economical solutions to help the greatest number of people. Habitat for Humanity began its relief work by distributing thousands of  emergency kits packed with twine and tarps to the country. A Home in Haiti, an Atlanta organization that ships camping tents purchased by individual donors directly to the country, has intensified its outreach in recent weeks to beat the impending storms.

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Greenspace March 11, 2010 By Nika Knight

subversivegardner cover The Subversive Gardener
subversivegardner title The Subversive Gardener

While the term “guerilla gardening” isn’t widely known, anyone off the street can likely recognize the name Johnny Appleseed. And the legendary Appleseed? Arguably America’s first guerilla gardener.
     Guerilla gardeners are environmental activists who take neglected urban spaces — literally — into their own hands. Plots of dirt such as those surrounding trees on a sidewalk or at a highway median are dug up, seeded, and watered so that beautiful (and carbon-consuming) trees, plants, and flowers emerge in what was formerly an eyesore of urban neglect. Today, there are guerilla gardening subcultures active in major metropolises throughout Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Australia.
     Vanessa Harden, an artist and active participant in London’s guerilla gardening scene, currently has an exhibition on display until March 21 at Salon Contemporary. Titled The Subversive Gardener, the exhibit features gardening tools that masquerade as such day-to-day items as purses, briefcases, oxford shoes, and even cameras. Inspired almost equally by spy gadgetry and biological systems such as seed dispersal, the items include the Mk II Agent Deployed Field Auger — a briefcase that conceals tools that can quickly drill holes in the ground — and the 2-round Tactical Gravity Planter — a purse that can hold two peat-potted plants on a built-in conveyor belt that easily drops them into their new homes.

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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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