Buckminster Fuller Centennial

San Diego, July 15th, 1995.

GENI had organized a three-day symposium and celebration for the occasion that it was 100 years since Buckminster Fuller was born. Joachim and I drove down from L.A. for the Saturday.

There were various exhibits and events spread over several sites. Of the exhibits, most inspiring was probably the domes put out on a lawn in Balboa Park. Some people were in the process of constructing a 30ft diameter geodesic dome. It was all made of wood triangles, all the same size, bolted together in hexagonal shapes, and so forth, to form a whole half sphere. Nothing holds the joints together, the strength is in the shape itself. This was a 4-frequency dome, which means that there are more, but smaller triangles than the typical designs which are 3-frequency. All the materials for this construction fit in the back of a regular 3/4 ton truck. And, incidentally, this one was all made of scrap wood from the dumpster of some construction site. I understand that these people are available to build dome houses at very affordable costs. Eco-Dome, [phone number no longer valid].

There were also a few domes from a company in L.A. Plastic bolted together. Not really geodesic domes, but at least they fit the maxim of doing more with less. Each one costs about 6000 dollars, and they have been known best for providing homes for homeless people. I believe a number of these have been put up close to downtown L.A. for that purpose.

In the "Bucky for Kids" section there were various displays of fun geometrical designs. We bought a couple of ZomeTool construction sets to play with ourselves.

In front of the automotive museum was parked one of the few existing Dymaxion cars. Bucky designed and built it in 1934. A futuristic, aerodynamic design, very different from normal cars at that time. It could turn in place and park sideways and had room for 9 people.

We spent the afternoon playing the World Game. It is about a 4 hour thing that goes on in a gym, or other large room. On the floor is spread out a world map in the Fuller projection, showing all continents, without distortion, practically as one big island in one ocean. The map is about 30 feet across. There is a multi-media presentation to give a big overview of planet earth and our role in history. Then the idea is that we all split up into groups that each are in charge of one part of the world. Each person would represent roughly 200 million people. I was in charge of Latin America together with a guy named Dave. We got handed out a shopping bag with our resources. That is, we got a stack of billion dollar notes, certificates representing our natural resources, a number of loafs of bread representing out food supply, a number of candles representing our energy supply, a number of floppy disks representing our technological capability, some balloons representing our military, and various kinds of paperwork, instructions and statistics. All was roughly corresponding to the actual resources of Latin America in the world. Now, we then went through a number of rounds of doing business. We could trade with other countries, we could work with international agencies that had staff at the edge of the map, we were being harrassed for payments by the international bank, we were interviewed by journalists, and so forth. And we had certain objectives we need to meet, of having adequate resources, bringing down illiteracy, dealing with environmental and political problems, and so forth. All quite an experience. First we are confused and don't know what to do, but gradually things start moving, and we start discovering new things we can do. Like, we can use our resources in inventive ways, we can cooperate with other countries and solve our problems together. Anyway, it is something one has to experience. Very exciting, I wouldn't want to have missed it.

- Flemming