ReVIEWING Black Mountain College 4: Looking Forward at Buckminster Fuller's Legacy
Mon, 08/06/2012 - 11:01am
"If the failure or success of this planet and of human beings depended on how I am and what I do... How would I be? What would I do?" - R. Buckminster Fuller
The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (BMCM+AC) in partnership with UNC Asheville, the UNC Asheville Howerton Distinguished Professor in the Humanities and the Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI) is pleased to announce ReVIEWING Black Mountain College 4 to be held September 28-30, 2012, a weekend gathering of scholars, practitioners and artists coming to Asheville to discuss, present and experience topics and workshops related to the forward-thinking ideas of Buckminster Fuller. The three-day conference will focus on Fuller's "comprehensive anticipatory design science" as a means for fostering prosperous, livable communities through creative, interdisciplinary thinking. The program for the weekend will include an array of presentations, panels and free experiential workshops connected to the vast web of ideas, initiatives and practices that Fuller championed during his life - and that others have taken on since his death.
Confirmed speakers include Fuller's daughter Allegra Fuller Snyder (keynote); Jason McLennan, CEO of the Cascadia Green Building Council and author of the "Living Building Challenge," winner of the 2012 Buckminster Fuller Challenge; Joseph D. Clinton, design scientist and partner at Buckminster Fuller; Sadao & Zung Architects; Mel Chin, conceptual visual artist; and David McConville, co-founder of The Elumenati and president of the BFI. Additional speakers will be announced, as will panel topics and presenters.
In addition to these featured speakers, the conference will include a number of panels comprised of individual scholars and a hands-on Design Science Day on Saturday, Sept. 29th. Free and open to the public, the all-ages Design Science Day (DSD) will take place on the UNC Asheville Quad and will feature an experiential program of activities inspired by Buckminster Fuller's "Big Ideas," connecting an extended network of artists, design scientists, educators and performers to an international audience of conference participants and community members.
R. Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) was one of the most inventive, influential, and inspiring figures of the 20th century. Through his ideas, inventions, teaching, and lecturing around the world, he influenced many others in a variety of fields, including commercial and industrial design, mathematics, the sciences, the arts and architecture. His basic approach was to apply both scientific knowledge and creativity to innovatively solve practical problems. He popularized the term "Spaceship Earth" to encourage people to see the entire world as one interdependent system, and he advocated for "Design Science," a pioneering approach aimed at solving complex problems by combining an emphasis on individual initiative and integrity with whole systems thinking, scientific rigor and faithful reliance on nature's underlying principles. Buckminster Fuller's ongoing influence in multiple fields and his visionary thinking and humanitarian impulse is a reason for his enduring legacy and contemporary relevance.
Fuller first taught at Black Mountain College during the summer of 1948 and although this was his first teaching experience, he was invited by the faculty to return and direct the 1949 summer session. It was during this period that Fuller focused on developing geodesic dome construction techniques together with his students, including some, like Albert Lanier, who went on to make their own marks in architecture and design. Fuller had an important creative relationship with another young student, Arthur Penn, who became a successful film director; Penn taught Fuller dramatic exercises which were crucial to helping Fuller communicate his ideas successfully through lectures. At Black Mountain College, Fuller also formed lasting friendships with some of the leading creative innovators of the 20th century, including John Cage and Merce Cunningham.
In conjunction with ReVIEWING Black Mountain College 4, the BMCM+AC will present a related exhibition at its downtown Asheville location. The exhibition will address the legacy of Buckminster Fuller as a legendary inventor of the 20th century and a visionary role model for a new generation of artists, thinkers and problem-solvers in the 21st century. The show will represent Fuller's own ideas and inventions through a selection from "Invention: Twelve Around One," a portfolio of screen prints published by the Carl Solway Gallery, which include images and schematics of Fuller's inventions. The exhibition will also represent a new generation of Fuller-inspired thinkers and artists by featuring winning projects from the first five years of The Buckminster Fuller Challenge (BFC), an annual international design challenge awarding $100,000 to support the development and implementation of a strategy that has significant potential to solve humanity's most pressing problems. A selection of photographs, illustrations, and schematics from each of the BFC winners will be chosen for the show by curator Elizabeth Thompson, executive director of BFI. The exhibition will be installed at BMCM+AC from Sept. 21-Dec. 29, with an opening reception during the conference.
Weekend cost for the conference:
- $15 for BMC Museum + Arts Center members and students w/ID
- $50 for non-members (includes BMC Museum + Arts Center membership)
- Free for UNCA students, faculty & staff
- Design Science Day - Free
Details about the conference are available at the BMCM+AC website.