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I would like to to introduce an OBJECT, mine in some ways, whom was once a man named Buckminster Fuller, and whom is now a thing, a memory, an idea and a form. IT/HE crossed my mind and a'mused me after having read an exhibit review by Bruce Sterling In ArtForumOnlineMagazine 10Sept08 entitled: "Starting With The Universe". Which, in my less than humble opinion. Yes it
not only starts here,
all it is
all that is
what it is
what it is...
And BuckM was inspired by it.
I begin with Sterling’s article which was written in celebration of the exhibit: “Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe” (220 models, videos, photographs, and works on paper and the only extant , a fuel-efficient vehicle designed by Fuller), first installed at , New York and soon to be installed at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. The article, wills Fuller a 2 self-created genius, an:
“American beau ideal, ’60s guru: non-violent, non-ideological, non-revolutionary, drug-free, neatly dressed in a suit, with horn-rims, and close-cropped hair, ...optimistic yet thunderous, can-do yet contrarian, a firm believer in the scientific method, yet questioning received wisdom in ways that seem to offer broad, smooth paths into a radically transformed world.”It goes on to say that Fuller should be known and idolized by the 21st century's:
“one million ranting Internet techno-enthusiasts, muddling disciplinary boundaries with their web-logs and search engines“, whom, he states “If they knew themselves better, ...would surely make a point of knowing him”.The author exuberantly points out that this is so because Fuller was a:
“one-man world-saving machine…a miniature academy: an architect, engineer, designer, physicist, geometer, and poet, whose main occupation was explaining how to operate reality, and who has become ‘the ultimate space-age techno-utopian” who through his “intellectual exploration... had “answers for everything.”The claims made for Fuller by this author were so upbeat as to claim he was, what the future wants to be now; or at least what present futurist-types want to be: retro-modernist hu-mechs;
bright and civic minded cyber-sapiens who will release the world from the filth of emotional baggage and jettison it space-long into the universal age of solubility capable of dealing with even the toughest mega-dimensional problems. I found these claims so appealing, I decided to do a little more research into Fuller so that I might see for myself how well his character met established canons of Modernism and Post-Modernism, as well as 21st century visions of itself. I of course went to , my ideal world-co-lab-o-pedia; and I also read a few other online articles to learn that Fuller was indeed as remarkable as Sterling described. He held 28 patents, wrote over 24 books, left 270’ of text in journal entries made nearly every 15 minutes from 1915 to 1983, was a popular professor, lecturer and friend to many artists, was the inventor of the (now numbering over 500,000 worldwide... though admitedly abysmal living space), and was an acclaimed inventor and creative impresario’ professing ideas such as sustainability and renewable energy, ‘omni-successful education', and "sustenance of all humanity’. He propagated amongst his followers a ’do more with less’ optimistic view of humanity’s future; and he hoped that society might come to define wealth in terms of knowledge while simultaneously developing the “technological ability to protect, nurture, support and accommodate all growth needs of life”. He thought the cultivation of these views made
“selfishness unnecessary and hence-forth unrationalizable.”What I find so charming about Buckminster Fuller, is that he was incredibly creative, hopeful, resilient and industrious in his visions of the future; and that he saw himself as:
“not a category, …a thing, …noun”, but a “verb, …an evolutionary process, …an integral function of the universe”.I believe that if Modernism could have at least into the space-age, and better yet into the electronic era, held the strength of its’ 'emotional/irrational pole" (beautifully engendered by Buckminster Fuller) against its’ 'scientific, rational pole', (engendered most brilliantly by Fuller) than the force field generated by the tension between the two, might have projected sufficient power to have repelled the now historical shift to Post-Modernism, from having occurred and placed with its' deadly nihilism and black hearted righteousness, a cold elliptical tombstone at Modernism's head. Perhaps if the force of the tension's field had been strong enough, the soulless, machine -like tendencies inherent in Modernism's mechanistic, hard-selling, over-consumptive indulgence, might have been sublimated so as not to have given rise to Post-Modernism's trademark movements steeped in slick sarcasm, sardonic back-stabbing, desperate deprecation, irresponsible defecation and deadly deconstruction.
Yet, from the contents of the grave there is preterit hope, and it is from the congeries of the past, the future is forged. To look toward a man such as Buckminster Fuller for inspiration is worthy, for he certainly bridged the past and future with genius aptitude for the proclivities and desires of the cybersapien generations of today. Fuller anticipated the humech, self-personafying, cybernauts of the present-future world, whom while longing for mystery and communion with nature and each other, are disembodied by over-abundance and an irreverent lack of honest reflection and humility inherent in post-modern culture. Sterling points out that if today’s retro-modernist
"techno geeks knew themselves better, they would be sure to try and know Fuller".I would agree with that and would take it one step further to say in Fuller, their/our better side is the reflection we seek and might cultivate and admire. Fuller was a Neo-Modernist, with all the , honesty, freedom, creativity and responsibility (*Joseph Beuys' traits for healing), as well as the energy, discipline and loving care to be a 21st Century model for Neo-Modernism. He could see and acknowledge short-comings while standing firm in the resolve to contemplate them deeply and act on them courageously. At the same time, he hoped to cultivate and sublimate the urges, preferences, needs and proclivities of the universe's collective and divergent offspring in all its matrixial worldly forms (creatures, forces, objects and ideas).