Why Buckminster Fuller?

by Larry Ochs, Rova band member

This show was already being conceived in 2005, and we were hoping to find the funding for it for a 2007 or 2008 show. While for me personally life has been good, in those years our government was committing all sorts of crimes against humanity in all of our names. I wanted to create some art that flew in the face of those acts - but not overtly political because that's not what we do. Instead simply: good works by people brought together from different countries - if only to point out that it was possible for people to meet for the very first time and in a week of collaboration, create something positive for the spirit, and something that was more than any one of the collaborators could create on his/her own; a "synergetic" event where the whole was not predicted by the individuals involved, where everything added up to more than the sum of its parts...

...a piece that we could dedicate to the memory of Buckminster Fuller, who over 40 years ago was stating categorically that mankind had to find a way to work together to create a one world-system that benefitted everyone. He called this "Spaceship Earth."

He also said: "My own picture of humanity today finds us just about to step out from amongst the pieces of our 'just broken eggshell.' Our innocent trial-and-error sustaining nutriment is exhausted. We are faced with an entirely new relationship to Universe. We are going to have to spread our wings of intellect and fly, or perish; that is, we must dare immediately to fly by the generalized principles governing Universe and not by the ground rules of yesterday's superstitiously and erroneously conditioned reflexes. And as we attempt competent thinking we immediately begin to employ our innate drive for comprehensive understanding."

Fissures, Futures acknowledges someone whose time came decades ago, but who has been forgotten in the decades since, and to point people back towards his ideas which should now resonate into our future, as the world grapples - finally - with problems (and opportunities!) that have been waiting for resolution since Fuller spoke about them in the fifties, sixties and seventies. Throughout his life, Fuller was concerned with the question "Does humanity have a chance to survive lastingly and successfully on planet Earth, and if so, how?"

Here are some of his thoughts in his own words:

"... society tends to think statically and is always being surprised, often uncomfortably, sometimes fatally by the omni-inexorable motion of Universe. Lacking dynamic apprehension, it is difficult for humanity to get out of its static fixations and to see great trends evolving."

"Most importantly we have learned that from here on it is success for all or none, for it is experimentally proven by physics that "unity is plural and at minimum two" - the complementary but not mirror-imaged proton and neutron. you and I are inherently different and complimentary. Together we average as zero - that is, as eternity"....

"There is no shape of the Universe. There is only omnidirectional, nonconceptual "out" and the specifically directioned, conceptual "in." ...The atmosphere's molecules over any place on Earth's surface are forever shifting position. The air over the Himalayas is enveloping California a week later. The stars now overhead are underfoot twelve hours later. The stars themselves are swiftly moving in respect to one another. Many of them have not been where you see them for millions of years; many burnt out long ago. The Sun's light takes eight minutes to reach us. We have relationships - but not space... "Synergy" means behavior of whole systems unpredicted by the behavior of their parts taken separately ... It is dealing with the whole that makes it possible to discover the parts".

"The greatest of all the faculties is the ability of the imagination to formulate conceptually. Conceptuality is subjective; realization is objective. Conceptuality is metaphysical and weightless; reality is physical. The artist was right all the time. Nature is conceptual".

A little bio material taken from The Buckminster Fuller Institute R. Buckminster Fuller (1895 - 1983); inventor, architect, engineer, mathematician, poet and cosmologist was one of the most enlightened mystics of the last century. His universal vision saw our planet as "Spaceship Earth". Buckminster Fuller was one of our world's first futurists and global thinkers. His 1927 decision to work always and only for all humanity led him to address the largest global problems of poverty, disease and homelessness. He realized early on that by examining global problems in the context of the whole system - the whole planet - he would have the best chance of identifying large-scale trends that would allow him to anticipate the critical needs of humanity. He has been called "the first poet of technology," "the greatest living genius of industrial - technical realization in building," "an anticipator of the world to come -- which is different from being a prophet," "a seminal thinker," and "an inspired child." But all these encomiums are fairly recent. For most of his life, R. Buckminster Fuller was known simply as a crackpot.?? He is also something more than the mere sum of his praise and criticism. He is a throwback to the classic American individualist, a mold which produced Thomas Edison and Thoreau -- men with the fresh eye that sees and questions everything anew, and the crotchety mind that refuses to believe there is anything that cannot be done. What Fuller sees excites him with the vision of man's potentialities, and he has made it his mission to help man realize them. Says he: "Man knows so much and does so little."