Sunday, March 15, 2009

You Can Make a Positive Contribution to the Future

Buckminster Fuller set up this challenge for himself - what can one individual with few resources (little money, little power or influence, not particularly handsome or brilliant, etc.) do in their lifetime to make a difference that will positively influence life on the planet for all people?

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Chicago, presents Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe, the first major American exhibition in decades devoted to the visionary mind and work of Buckminster Fuller, and the most inclusive show to date of Fuller’s work. On view from March 14 to June 21, 2009, the show is organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art with the cooperation of the Fuller family.

R. Buckminster Fuller (right) (1895-1983) was one of the great American creative thinkers of the 20th century. Philosopher, forecaster, designer, poet, inventor, and advocate of alternative energy, Fuller is probably best known as the originator of the geodesic dome (left), but his theories and innovations engaged fields ranging from mathematics, engineering, and environmental science to literature, architecture, and visual art. Fuller was one of the great transdisciplinary thinkers and made no distinction between these spheres as discrete areas of investigation. He devoted much of his life to closing the gap between the sciences and the humanities, a schism he felt prevented a comprehensive view of the world. He believed in the significant interconnectedness of all things and concluded that certain basic structures and systems underlie everything in our world.

Today, his prophetic concepts are a touchstone for discussions of issues including environmental conservation, the manufacture and distribution of housing, and global organization of information. Fuller’s concepts are ripe for reexamination by artists, architects, designers, scientists, and poets among others.

There are many videos, books, and other resources about Buckminster Fuller that design students should know about to shape their resolve and understand how one small person can make a difference in the world through design. Click on the heading above to see an example.

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