Architecture July 12, 2012 By Nalina Moses

<em>Alpine Hut, Stara Fuzina, Slovenia.</em> OFIS Arhitekti. Photo © Tomaz Gregoric.

Alpine Hut, Stara Fuzina, Slovenia. OFIS Arhitekti. Photo © Tomaz Gregoric.

smallecohousesheader small eco houses
We already know that green living means making houses that are smaller and more energy-efficient, reusing existing structures, and incorporating repurposed materials. The new book Small ECO Houses accepts these assumptions and adds a provocative new one to the mix: prefabrication. Most of the houses in this portfolio of outstanding new designs from around the world are mobile homes, or have been assembled from standard modules that were fabricated in a workshop and then delivered to the site. Yet they’ve been conceived with such refinement that it’s difficult to believe they weren’t custom-made.

In the United States, certainly, prefabricated houses carry a strong stigma. They’re considered shoddy and impermanent, a kind of shelter that’s more appropriate for emergency relief than real living. Now designers are looking more closely at prefabrication as a way to control costs and quality by employing highly skilled craftspeople to build on a larger scale in a controlled, studio environment. And designers are bringing a broader, more sensuous palette of materials to the task. There are no white corrugated aluminum panels or flapping screen doors here. Instead, the modestly-sized structures pictured in the book are clad with wood boards, steel panels and rough brick that will weather naturally over years. And the structures are finished with a layer of details — awnings, railings copings — that add sophistication.

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Music July 6, 2012 By Thomas Beckwith

pomcover Pomegranatespomegranates
If Heaven is any indication, the members of Pomegranates play an average of eight instruments each. You can pick them out in a kind of parlor game for music geeks: there goes the razzy, feedback- heavy guitar solo, there go the bells, there go the rollicking drum lines and plinky cadenzas on piano. There goes a singer whose syrupy falsetto makes you wonder if he studied with Antony. There go three anthems – “Pass Away,” “Sister” and “Ezekiel” – whose brashness barely connects with the syrupy ballads that follow. Given this variety, you wonder if the band, which takes great pains to use every part of their buffalo, is eclectic or just indecisive. By cobbling together the hallmarks of a hundred different song structures, they managed to create an album that’s less a statement than a showcase. In that light, it’s best to look at Heaven as a kind of musical sample platter – one that, for better or worse, eschews the needs of a narrative.

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Art July 2, 2012 By Chloe Eichler

<em>Omri, Givatti Brigade, Golan Heights, Israel, March 29, 2000</em>

Omri, Givatti Brigade, Golan Heights, Israel, March 29, 2000

gugg title Rineke Dijkstra
After almost 25 years of being one of Holland’s most interesting portraitists, photographer Rineke Dijkstra is getting her major mid-career survey in America. After premiering at SFMOMA, Rineke Dijkstra: A Restrospective comes to the Guggenheim this summer, showcasing Dijkstra’s elegant light touch and acute eye for emotional currents. Though she’s searched for unguarded moments in adult subjects, most notably in mothers post-delivery, Dijsktra’s long-standing topic has been youth. In portraits of children and teenagers at parks, dance clubs, and beaches she gleans the earnest, half-formed quality that lies behind any posture or pose of adolescence. Her subjects stand without accoutrements or really much in the way of background, but each photo achieves a beautiful balance between delicate color and light effects, and the glowing openness of the face in the frame.

Dijkstra’s other exploration of the young—the one that’s garnered her the most attention—is an epic time-lapse method. The Almerisa series, which began in 1994 and continues today, comprises eleven photos of a young Bosnian refugee taken once every 1 – 2 years. The series begins with Almerisa at age 6 and its latest installment, taken in 2008, includes Almerisa’s own baby.

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Art June 26, 2012 By Aiya Ono

© Niclas Heikkinen

© Niclas Heikkinen

berlinheader Niclas Heikkinen
A city that has often been referred to as “the old New York,” Berlin is a place where free spirits migrate to claim as their home, where creativity flourishes, and where reinvention rules. Old apartments from DDR Germany are now used as nightclubs, which tell of East Berlin’s transition from communism to democracy. Like so many others, Niclas Heikkinen, a Belgium native, fell in love with Berlin and the people he encountered there. Ann, a charming transgender model; Suzana, a wild and enigmatic character, full of confidence and wonder; and Paul, one of countless earnest young men comfortable in his own skin. Heikkinen tells PLANET, “Each chance encounter was something I wouldn’t have ever imagined. It’s beautiful when such unexpected friendships form and become such an integral part of your life.” PLANET is pleased to present portraits from Heikkinen’s ongoing series on these free spirits and their vibrant souls, which are what make Berlin such an enchanting city.

Forever traveling, Heikkinen envisions a road trip across the U.S. with stopovers at barn dances and rodeos as his next trip. In the meantime he keeps busy working with cutting-edge fashion brands like Neil Barrett, who will release a Heikkinen-helmed short film this year.

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Greenspace June 25, 2012 By Jordan Sayle

All photos courtesy of Tara Oceans. Images copyright of individual photographers.

Photos courtesy of Tara Oceans. Images copyright of individual photographers.

realtaratitle An Ocean of Life
Some of the most essential life forms on the planet are microorganisms that we know virtually nothing about. Phytoplankton and zooplankton comprise the bottom of the food chain in ocean ecosystems and play vital roles in regulating the Earth’s climate. But with that climate rapidly warming, these building blocks of the sea are disappearing at a rate of about 1% per year. Studying them and collecting samples of organisms that in many cases have never been seen before was the idea behind the two-and-a-half year journey around the globe by the Tara Oceans, a 118-foot schooner with an onboard crew of researchers, which came to an end in Lorient, France in March. (We first reported this incredible story earlier this year.)

The ten-year process to analyze the samples is now in its beginning stages, while future missions by Tara Expeditions are being planned. Next year, the crew will visit the Arctic to create a new inventory of biodiversity there, and in 2014 they’ll head to the Pacific Ocean to study coral reefs, including visits to South Asia, which the recent voyage failed to reach. For now, we can simply marvel at the stunning fruits of Tara’s labors so far with previously unimaginable visions of plankton, protozoa, and crustaceans from deep in the world’s oceans.

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Music June 20, 2012 By Lily Moayeri

postop Emeli Sandetitle95 Emeli Sande
Aren’t we fortunate that Adele has had such success to make music industry types want to find more like her? Enter Emeli Sande. This Scotswoman meets much of the criteria for the thick-throated female singer/songwriter. Having a hand in co-writing her own material, the requisite men issues to give her something to write about, and the strong personality to pull it off, Sande is all set. Her debut, Our Version Of Events kicks off with one of her standout numbers, “Heaven.” Lifting its beat pattern directly from Massive Attack’s “Unfinished Sympathy,” this trick doesn’t work against “Heaven.” Rather, it kicks it up to a familiar space in the listener’s mind, making it an instant hit. Breakbeats line most of Our Version Of Events giving it a British flavor. Sande, however, takes her vocal cues from classic, and contemporary, impassioned R&B singers. The soul-fused “My Kind Of Love” is such a powerhouse of emotion it crunches with intensity. Our Version Of Events is not wholly original—neither is Sande’s Salt ‘n’ Pepa hairdo—but don’t hold it against her, she more than makes up for it with her sincerity, plus, she sounds good. filler29 Emeli Sande

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Art June 20, 2012 By Chloe Eichler

<em>Stephen Long</em>, 1968 © Patricia Johanson

Stephen Long, 1968 © Patricia Johanson

title94 Ends of the Earth
This summer the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles is giving the land art movement its long-overdue, very first retrospective. Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974 looks at a small chunk of land art’s history – barely a decade, from its birth in the sixties to its commercial overhaul in the mid-seventies – and attempts to untangle the messy motivations behind it.

Land art was singularly revolutionary in a period full of revolution. While artists in New York and LA were using deliberately worthless trash as sculpture material or creating works with a silkscreen printer instead of their hands, practitioners of land art literally removed themselves from the art institution. They created work out of raw firmament on sites chosen not only for their workability, but for their remoteness as well. Land art was all natural (pieces were shaped out of the environment, never brought in from somewhere else), unmoving, and purposefully left to the mercy of the elements just like any other organic creation. It was as far from the art machine of galleries, collectors’ auctions, and museums that you could get. Ends of the Earth portrays land art’s origins for what they were: equal parts thought-provoking, exploratory, and reactionary.

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Design June 18, 2012 By Kelly Robbins

postoption19 Noho Design Districtheader15 Noho Design District
Last month the third annual NoHo Design District Festival filled the downtown stretch between Bowery and Broadway with events and installations from both established and emerging talents. NoHo, with its long-standing reputation as an artists’ community, was the perfect atmosphere for the edgy, collaborative experience NDD organizers had in mind.

FABnyc, a program aimed at reinvigorating public spaces, asked visitors to reconsider the sidewalk beneath their feet with “Music Machine” by multidisciplinary artist Sonni. Bringing life to the otherwise dim alleyway behind the former CBGB was Sonni’s sidewalk mural of bright, primary-colored cartoon illustrations. A designer from Baggu was on hand to paint the pop-inspired brand’s grapefruit, mint, or citron-colored leather pouches with emoticons on the spot. On the second floor patio of the Standard, East Village Hotel, visitors found shelter from the sun inside designer Mat Gagnon’s “Knit Fort,” a flexible, multi-dimensional structure of woven wood and rubber cord that can be expanded and shaped according to one’s needs.

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Art, film June 15, 2012 By Sophie Mollart

Marina Abramović. Photo Credit: David Smoler

Marina Abramović. Photo Credit: David Smoler

header14 The Artist Is Present
Over the stretch of her thirty-year tenure as performance art’s matriarch, Marina Abramovic has unceasingly pushed the boundaries of the corporeal. In the Spring of 2010, the Museum of Modern Art housed a retrospective of her performances to date, as a troupe of young artists re-enacted highlights of her earlier work. The centerpiece of the show, The Artist is Present, is explored this month in a new documentary. Evolving from a previous performance – Nightsea Crossing – in which she and Ulay, her former lover and collaborator, would sit silently, eye to eye, hour upon hour. This time, Ulay was to be replaced by whoever should wish to partake, as the audience was invited to silently commune with Abramovic for the duration of their choosing.

Filmmaker Matthew Akers originally approached the prospect of filming Abramovic with a healthy skepticism: “I had been to school for sculpture and I’d never witnessed great performance art so I was suspicious. When I met her she was incredibly charming, we hit it off right away, but I told her, if we do this, you can’t have any editorial control, that means if I find out stuff that’s less flattering to you, you’re going to have to let me use that. She said – listen little baby – she calls everyone little baby – you can have total control, I’ll give you the keys to my apartment, don’t worry – and about a week later she gave me the keys to her apartment.”

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Art June 13, 2012 By Chloe Eichler

Dans l'(((Onde))), installation view galerie du jour agne`s b. Paris

Dans l'(((Onde))), installation view galerie du jour agne`s b. Paris

MUSIQUEHEADER Musique Plastique
This week agnès b. Galerie opens Musique Plastique, a lively multimedia exhibition that was first shown in Paris last year. “Musique Plastique” asks a loaded question: What is the relationship between music and visual art? Do the two creative impulses come from the same place, or do they encourage and inspire one another? Why are so many musicians compelled to paint, and vice versa?

“Musique Plastique” is small, but its ambitious scope—post-punk, synth pop, folk, video, photography, sculpture—does its best to answer these questions. The show’s biggest names are probably Jonas Mekas (from the art world) and Thurston Moore (from music), but every player involved is fascinating. Daniel Johnston, the American lauded singer- songwriter who’s worked on everything from rock operas to a documentary about his own schizophrenia, will present his visual art. Swedish electronic artist Tobias Bernstrup will share his unique process of using musical performance as a step to making visual art. Étienne Charry, who since his days as the guitarist for Oui Oui with Michel Gondry has become a French pop chameleon, will show his experimental spirit visually as well. In all, twenty musician-artists are represented.

Musique Plastique opens June 14th at agnès b. Galerie Boutique. A compilation of music featured in the show is available for free at www.50howardstreet.com.