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Entries in buckminster fuller (7)

Tuesday
Jun172008

Bucky Fuller's Dymaxion Car on Display


From the June 15, 2008 New York Times:

Buckminster Fuller’s 1933 Dymaxion, a streamlined pod on three wheels, is one of the lovable oddballs in automotive history. Three were built, fawned over by the media and by celebrities, but the car pretty much disappeared after one crashed, killing the driver.

 

Other streamlined designs have followed the Dymaxion, including, from top, the 1936 Lincoln Zephyr, the Z.car and the Aptera.

Only one of the cars survives, and New Yorkers will get a chance to see it this summer in an exhibition opening June 26 at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York called “Buckminster Fuller: Starting With the Universe.” The car, a nonrunning shell, has been lent by the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nev.

“The Dymaxion was the zenith of the first wave of semi-scientific streamlining,” said Russell Flinchum, a design historian. It showed up in newsreels and magazines, along with teardrop designs drawn by Norman Bel Geddes, the futurist. It helped lead to public acceptance of streamlined cars like the 1936 Lincoln Zephyr.

The Dymaxion appealed to the era of the Depression, when people dreamed of radical new technological solutions to solve overwhelming problems.


See also:
Dymaxion Car of the Future (1934)
Buckminster Fuller Screenprints (1981)
Fuller's Traveling Cartridge (circa 1960s)
The Most Well-Documented Lives in History

 

Friday
May162008

Dymaxion "Car of the Future" (1934)

Resembling a whale out of water, here you see the Dymaxion, a three-wheeled vehicle being manufactured at Bridgeport, Conn., as "the car of the future." The invention of Buckminster Fuller, the super-streamlined model has two front wheels set midway in the ovaloid body and one rear wheel, set in the tail, which does the steering, rudder fashion. It uses little gasoline, but can travel 125 miles an hour.


The May 6, 1934 News and Tribune (Jefferson City, MO) ran the photograph above of Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion "Car of the Future." The advertisement below, which ran in the April 23, 1934 New Castle News (New Castle, PA) used an image of the streamlined Dymaxion to help sell motor fuel.

 

See also:
Gyroscopic Rocket Car (1945)
Buckminster Fuller Screenprints (1981)
Fuller's Traveling Cartridge (circa 1960s)
The Most Well-Documented Lives in History
Sea City 2000 (1979)
GM's Three-Wheeled Runabout (1966)
Automobiles of the Future (1966)
GM Car of the Future (1962)
Sports Car of Tomorrow (1966)

Sunday
Mar232008

Buckminster Fuller Screenprints (1981)


The 1981 catalogue Buckminster Fuller, Inventions: Twelve Around One is a gorgeous keepsake from the Carl Solway Gallery in Cinncinnati, Ohio. Their 1981 exhibition of screenprints, derived from Buckminster Fuller drawings, must have been stunning. The catalogue reproduces thirteen screenprints which were produced under the supervision of Fuller. The edition was limited to 60 numbered portfolios which are selling today for $45,000!

A photo of Fuller signing the screenprints appears above. Below you will find the introduction to the catalogue. Look for more from this rare book soon. Many thanks to Brian Horrigan, co-author of Yesterday's Tomorrows, for lending it to me. (I only recently discovered that Mr. Horrigan and I live just blocks from each other, and he was kind enough to lend me some great rare material.)

This catalogue reproduces a portfolio of thirteen screenprints and text by Buckminster Fuller published under the supervision of Buckminster Fuller by Colophon, Cincinnati, Ohio. The edition is limited to 60 numbered portfolios (1-60) and 20 hors commerce (I-XX).

 

Each of the thirteen prints consists of two 30" by 40" screenprinted sheets, one of which illustrates drawings for a patent invention by Fuller, and the second sheet illustrates the realization of the concept. These two sheets may be presented separately, in two frames; or together, as an overlay, in one frame. This catalogue reproduces both presentation options.

The patent invention drawings are screenprinted in white ink on a clear polyester film. A plain blue backing sheet, provided with each print, may be placed under the clear film patent drawings to create the effect of a blueprint. The accompanying photo realization of each invention is a screenprint on Lenox 100 percent rag paper. The text pages and the blue backing sheets are Curtis Tweedweave 100 percent rag paper made especially for this portfolio.

Each of the thirteen prints in the portfolio is hand signed and numbered by Buckminster Fuller on the clear film element.


See also:
Fuller's Traveling Cartridge (circa 1960s)
The Most Well-Documented Lives in History
Sea City 2000 (1979)

 

Monday
Sep242007

Pop Culture and the Space Age


Today's New York Times has a very interesting piece about the effect of the Space Age on popular culture.

An effect was much more than simply a spillover from the silvery streamlining of the space program. It was an increasing preoccupation with the future and technology that helped change not only the country’s look in the 1950s and ’60s, but also, in some ways, its very conception of itself, as if seen anew from space.

 

The architect Buckminster Fuller, one of the space age’s most ardent proselytizers, put it much more coherently in his book “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth”: “We are all astronauts.”


See also:
Outer Space Furniture (1964)
Sincerity and the Paleo-Future
Is Futurism Dead? (New York Times, 1982)

 

Monday
Aug272007

Fuller's Traveling Cartridge (circa 1960s)

This concept drawing by Buckminster Fuller looks to have a lot in common with the airport of the future article we looked at last week.


The illustration was found in the excellent 1968 book Transportation in the World of the Future.

See also:
Airport of the Future (1967)
Disney's Magic Highway, U.S.A. (1958)
The Most Well-Documented Lives in History

Tuesday
Mar272007

Sea City 2000 (1979)


Today we have more from the great book Future Cities: Homes and Living into the 21st Century.

The Sea City 2000 shows some great paleo-future technology such as the dish-shaped antenna that "beams microwave energy, generated by solar cells, to a receiver on the nearby coast."

The bottom right corner shows a Buckminster Fuller design for a floating community. His design includes shops, schools and homes for 5,000 people.

See also:
The Future World of Transportation
Future Cities: Homes and Living into the 21st Century
Ristos (1979)

Monday
Feb052007

The Most Well-Documented Lives in History

Today we have two men that are either geniuses or completely crazy. While that fine line is usually difficult to discern in any worthwhile endeavor it is especially difficult in the context of futurism.

We begin with Richard Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983), perhaps most famous for inventing the geodesic dome. What may be most compelling about the man was his fascination with documenting his own life. Stanford University Libraries acquired Fuller's archives in 1999. In what is called the Dymaxion Chronofile, Fuller was obsessive about documenting everything that happened to him.

Started in 1917, the Chronofile was "a massive scrapbook that included copies of all his incoming and outgoing correspondence, newspaper clippings, notes and sketches and even dry cleaning bills." Fuller continued the Chronofile until his death in 1983 at which time he had created/accumulated 270 linear feet of documentation.

Our next madman/genius does not measure his life in linear feet, but rather gigabytes. 72-year old Microsoft researcher Gordon Bell uses the custom-designed software MyLifeBits to document every piece of his life. He has a camera that hangs from his neck which takes a picture every 60 seconds, a scanner which digitizes all his paper documents, a modified phone tap for phone calls, and a digital audio recorder for constant everyday conversational recording.

The November, 2006 issue of Fast Company even had him on the cover and did a pretty incredible piece on his crazy endeavor. At the end of the day I tend to side with skeptics in the article that argue, "forgetting is how we make sense of life."

There needs to be some kind of balance. I value my photographs above all my other possessions on earth. It scares me that a single fire could wipe out all of my negatives from 1998-2002 and a couple hard drive malfunctions could erase all of my digital photos I haven't stored on Flickr. The fragility of memory makes these things valuable to me. If I had a massive database that cataloged every image I saw in 60 second intervals I would probably lose attatchment to the images that document my life on a far less frequent basis.

Where does that leave the lives of others and the documents we cherish? I value the single photograph I have of my great-great grandparents from Slovenia but I would love to see what their day-to-day lives were like. Again, I truly believe balance is the key. Balanced or not, Fuller and Bell may give us a sneak peek into the future of memory.

-Matt

If you're looking for more information on Buckminster Fuller:
To my amazement, Stanford University has an audio-visual collection online about Fuller as well. You will have to register (for free) but I would suggest checking it out if you get a chance.