Machine Civilization: We Are All One

Machine Civilization: We Are All One

Machine Civilization is the fabulously choreographed music video by World Order, the celebrated Japanese music/dance performance group led by former martial artist Genki Sudo. The video features  slow-motion breakdance voguing Japanese businessmen, released along with some words of hope following the recent earthquake and tsunami devastation in Japan. Genki Sudo accompanied his video with these words of inspiration:

The unprecedented disasters unfolding in Japan; earthquakes, tsunami, and nuclear explosions, will somehow change things to come. And to send my message about this, I have expressed it here with World Order.

These disasters can be interpreted as a turning point for civilization. I think that we have arrived at a time of revolution, shared with all the people of the world, in today’s society, economy, and political systems.

Incidents themselves are neutral. I believe that every single one of us, wandering through this deep darkness, can overcome anything, if only we let go of our fear, and face the it all in a positive light.

The world is not going to change. Each one of us will change. And if we do, then yes, the world will be changed. It is darkest right before the dawn. Let’s all rise up to welcome the morning that will be so very bright for mankind. We are all one.”

World Order: Machine Civilization

(Best Viewed in HD Full-Screen Mode)

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Little Japan: A Wonderful Tiny Tokyo

Little Japan: A Wonderful Tiny Tokyo

Little Japan is a wonderful tilt-shift three-minute short film created by Fershad Irani, with music by Jack Johnson. The film was shot during early February 2011, in and around Kyoto and Tokyo. Irami began working on the film while watching news coverage of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, and sends his message, “To everyone in Japan, stay strong, thoughts are with you.”

Little Japan: A Wonderful Tiny Tokyo

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Photos of the Day: The Taxi Lights of Tokyo

Photos of the Day: The Taxi Lights of Tokyo

Photography by: Joseph O. Holmes, NYC

The Taxi Lights of Tokyo is a wonderful collection of color photographs by New York City street photographer Joseph O. Holmes. It’s an incredible series of images, which captures the spirit of a city that glitters and shines much like Times Square. The photographs reflect a nighttime urban mood that seems always the same, with scenes that are enhanced by the colorful out-of-focus background of other lighted signs.

In light of the devastation unleashed by the recent massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan, readers might wish to consider making a donation to the Japan Society’s Earthquake Relief Fund, or to Doctors Without Borders.

Tokyo Taxis: The Colorful Taxis of the City

Taxi Stand: Taxi Lights in Tokyo

Japan: The Devastation of the Massive Earthquake and Tsunami

Slide Show: The Taxi Lights of Tokyo

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Japan: The Devastation of the Massive Earthquake and Tsunami

Japan: The Devastation of the Massive Earthquake and Tsunami

A massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Japan triggered a tsunami that damaged much of the country’s coastline. The quake set off a huge oil-refinery fire north of Tokyo, where high-rise buildings designed to withstand major earthquakes swayed for several minutes. More than 30 aftershocks were reported, the largest measuring 7.1.

The tsunami waves that followed reached upwards of 30 feet high and devastated Japan’s northeastern shoreline. Waves pushed over ships, carried smaller vessels inland, knocked buildings off their foundation, tossed cars about like toys, and reversed the direction of a river. The tsunami was so devastating because the quake happened near a deep trench in the sea floor that marks the boundary between two plates of the earth’s crust.

In addition, the quake resulted in a nuclear crisis unfolding at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, unlike any seen in history: multiple failures, fires and radiation leaks from at least four separate reactors. While damage from the earthquake and tsunami was instantly visible, the nuclear impact has taken days to unfold and could affect far larger swaths of Japan and neighboring countries.

What the sea so violently ripped away, it has now begun to return. On Monday, various reports from police officials and news agencies said that as many as 2,000 bodies had now washed ashore along the coastline, overwhelming the capacity of local officials. About 350,000 people have reportedly been left homeless and are staying in shelters, awaiting news of friends and relatives among the many thousands who remain unaccounted for. The national police said early Tuesday that more than 15,000 were missing, though just 2,475 deaths had been confirmed since the quake.

Japan: The Devastation of the Massive Earthquake and Tsunami

Slide Show: Japan/The Devastation of the Massive Earthquake and Tsunami

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The Sun City Picture House: Hollywood Comes to Haiti

The Sun City Picture House: Hollywood Comes to Haiti

Sun City Picture House is a very engaging documentary short film by David Darg and Bryn Mooser.  After the devastating earthquake rocked Haiti last year, food and medical aid poured into the island country, but in the months that followed a pair of Hollywood actresses and their friends had another idea.  They wanted to build a movie theater.  Maria Bello, who starred in the Adam Sandler comedy Grown Ups, and Tron actress Olivia Wilde, have documented the efforts of the group of people that brought the theater to life in this new, documentary short.

The documentary, Sun City Picture House, focuses on Haitian aid worker Raphael Louigene, whose dream was to build a movie theater, and the two American aid workers who helped him realize that dream by constructing it in just four days: Bryn Mooser from Artists for Peace and Justice, and Dave Darg, who works for Operation Blessing.  Mario Bello stated, “The thing that’s needed most in Haiti right now, besides the immediate relief efforts, is joy.  And that’s what this movie is about.”

This piece also includes a slide show of stunning photographs of life in Haiti’s tent cities by New York photographer Wyatt Gallery.

The Sun City Picture House: Hollywood Comes to Haiti

Tent Life in Haiti: Portraits of Dignity in the Wake of Devastation

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Tent Life in Haiti: Portraits of Profound Dignity in the Wake of Devastation

Tent Life in Haiti: Portraits of Profound Dignity in the Wake of Devastation

Photography by:  Wyatt Gallery, NYC

January 12, 2011, will mark one year to the day that the devastating 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti, resulting in what is arguably the worst natural disaster in modern history.  Of the 1.5 million Haitian people who lost their homes in the earthquake, the majority are still living in makeshift tent cities, and the promised billions of dollars in foreign aid have yet to materialize.  While financial donors and peacekeepers have resources that vastly overshadow those of the Haitian government, a lack of coordination in their endeavors has hampered the country’s efforts to recover.

Tent Life: Haiti is a very timely collection of stunning portraits of dignity, hope and joy by New York photographer Wyatt Gallery, inspirational photographs that show the reality of Haitian lives a year after the earthquake’s destruction and its aftermath.  Gallery’s photographs present an artful and unselfconscious study of the resilience of an irrepressible people.  They are beautiful narrative illustrations of the lives of a people experiencing a painfully arduous process of recovery, but they don’t romanticize the tent cities or the desperate living conditions of the Haitians who were rendered homeless by the earthquake.

Rather than using the medium of photography mainly as an attempt to understand what has happened in Haiti, Gallery’s portraits reveal a sense of intimacy and closeness with the Haitian survivors, as well as a genuine wish to be helpful.  His work stands as a tender expression of the unexpected and unlikely sense of hope that he discovered in the residents of the Haitian tent cities.

A collection of photographs from Gallery’s Tent Life: Haiti is currently on exhibition at the Umbrage Gallery in Downtown Brooklyn, and will be on display until March 31, 2011.  In addition, Tent Life: Haiti has just been published as a fine art photography book, and 100% of the proceeds will go to four charitable relief organizations: J/P Haitian Relief Organization, Healing Haiti, the Global Syndicate and the Cine Institute.

Tent Life in Haiti: A Documentary Video Journal

We Are The World 25 For Haiti (Official Video)

Tent Life in Haiti: Portraits of Profound Dignity in the Wake of Devastation

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Bioscleave House: Built to Defeat Mortality

Bioscleave House: Built to Defeat Mortality

Bioscleave House (Lifespan Extending Villa) was designed by Arakawa, a 71 year old artist, with his wife, Madeline Gins, 66. Ms. Gins, 66, extolls the health benefits of the house, claiming that its architecture makes people use their bodies in unexpected ways to maintain equilibrium, which stimulates their immune systems. The concrete floor of the house rises and falls like the surface of a vast, bumpy chocolate chip cookie, an undulating floor that tends to throw people off balance.

In addition to the floor, which threatens to send the un-sure-footed hurtling into the sunken kitchen at the center of the house, the design features walls painted, somewhat disorientingly, in about 40 different colors; multiple levels meant to create the sensation of being in two spaces at once; windows at varying heights; oddly angled light switches and outlets; and an open flow of traffic, unhindered by interior doors or their adjunct, privacy.

Like the undulating floor, Arakawa and Gins, as they are known professionally, tend to throw people off balance. In 45 years of working together as artists, poets and architects, they have developed a cryptic philosophy of life and art, a theory they call reversible destiny. Essentially, they have made it their mission, in paintings, books and now architectural projects like this one, to outlaw aging and its consequences, to reverse the downhill course of human life. “It’s immoral that people have to die,” Ms. Gins explained.

The house in East Hampton cost more than $2 million to build. It’s their first completed architectural work in the United States and, as they see it, a turning point in their campaign to defeat mortality. The house, which is still unoccupied, was commissioned in the late 1990s by a friend who sold the property to an anonymous group of investors after the project dragged on and costs mounted. But it is ready, Arakawa and Ms. Gins say, to begin rejuvenating whoever moves in now.

The Destiny Houses, Japan

In 1998 they won a competition, sponsored by the city of Tokyo, to build a vast housing project on 75 acres of landfill. The project was never realized, but a group of supporters in Tokyo arranged to build nine loft-style units, in Mitaka, Japan, which in many ways resemble the house in East Hampton.

Audio Slide Show: The Lifespan Expanding Villa/Built to Defeat Mortality

(Please Click on Image to View Audio Slide show)

Interested readers will find more about The Lifespan Expanding Villa in The New York Times here.

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