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Two Meetings that Link TECHNOPOLITANA of the 1930s to now.

      What follows are short descriptions of:  my meeting with Francine Olnay in October 2016 (Summary below)                                                                                        Her pondering who Bill Rutland was (Summary version below)

       Or  PDF files for the longer versions:

                                                                                 Link to Meeting Francine Olnay longer (7 pages)
                                                                                 Link to Francine, Rutland & the TECHNOPOLITANA vision  (9 pages)

Meeting Francine --

          It was a grey Thursday in mid-October 2016. I was in the west of Ireland and I wanted to look up a man I knew slightly. I was doing this on behalf of a reporter friend who knew him well.
          I was shy because he did not have a reputation for being sociable. Though, when I called him he seemed glad of the contact. His name was ‘Arne’ – known as Spy – Nielsen. He had been a war zone reporter for many years – he was now forty nine.
          He operated without much visibility, contributing to the reports of others, often acting as a liaison for tv crews and the like in dangerous places he knew better than they. He had begun to concentrate on environmental issues – illegal logging, for example. He was, by now, forty nine.
         I arrived at his house. There was no one home. The place surprised me -- the river running by the house and the ancient trees. The house was substantial, not what I expected.
         No Spy. Instead I met Francine Olnay -- here was an American clothes designer and fashion model.
         And she had been swimming in the river in mid-October.
         'Fashion models do odd things,' she said.

     Read the longer version of the encounter that led to the revival of Planet Technopolitana. (7 pages/PDF format).

High Desert, Nevada, north of Reno, taken by Francine Olnay on the way to Rutland's old camp, December 27, 2016.

 

 

 Francine, camping & the Technopolitana vision:

            Humans aren’t close to nature. Modern clothing, Francine thinks -- modern shoes, modern cars, modern plastic bottles for water, modern lightweight sleeping bags and wind resistant tents, air mattresses… . And yet……  the chill of night air on their faces, the whisper of wind in the bare cottonwoods, the sweet smell of sage, the moon looking directly at them, peeing in the earth. One cannot so much touch as listen to the silence. There is no light pollution here and the sky is alive with stars.
           It is Nick, has crept back and put his hands around his mother. She sleeps with Lilit and he under the awning of the next tent. This is wild country. The next day they find a long, dry valley which is testing for the mother and thrilling for the children. It is boulder strewn and to follow it you have to hop from rock to rock. One day they cross the dry lake to a hot spring, find they are in company with a biking couple from Los Angeles. Nick’s science teacher who has given him a celestial map and one night the stars are bright.
           Put earth first. Is that the deep Rutland message? Humans have to learn to take their place?
           Civilization is tarnishing itself with the dominant species idea dominating.
            And she is who? She is in the apparel business. Instead of going to college, she modeled in Milan and Paris. And yet… and yet. She has re-discovered Rutland for whom there is almost no record, no Wikipedia page, almost nothing of the rival to TIME in which he published his Planet Technopolitana page, just one copy available second hand on the web of the one of the two slim volumes of his collected journalism.
            Snow begins on their third day so they take David Burns’ warning. They pack. Francine finds the children have a sense of purpose, working together to get the gear together and telling their mother to go for a walk while they do this. What is their mother doing talking about Technopolitana? They sort of understand. She’s gone too far? Camping out in remote Nevada has gone to her head.

Who was Bill Rutland?         Link to longer version 

 

Old corrugated iron buildings at the site where Rutland and Melinda Fellowes thought up Planet Technopolitana in 1929.

Cottonwood trees, taken by Francine Olnay December 28, 2017.

 

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