Buckminster Fuller: Thinking Out Loud (1996)
inventor/visionary/thinker R. Buckminster Fuller, produced and directed by four time Academy Award nominees Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon. Fuller is considered by some to be one of the 20th century’s most noteworthy, controversial and creative thinkers, since his death in 1983. The film looks at his unconventional life, his innovations, and his radical view of the contemporary world. Best known as the inventor of the Geodesic Dome,
Fuller had many other inventions, such as an air-streamed three-wheeled car, and ideas of how to “benefit mankind.” The film includes interviews with Philip Johnson, Merce Cunningham, John Cage and Arthur Penn. It is narrated by Morley Safer and Spalding Gray is the voice of Buckminster Fuller. The filmmakers were the first journalists to have open access to the vast collections of Fuller’s personal papers. As Fuller was widely documented, the film includes extensive archival footage of Fuller from scores of sources. The film premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival in 1996 and was nominated for an Emmy for Best Cultural/Historical Documentary the same year.
As a young man
Fuller was born on July 12, 1895, in Milton, Massachusetts, the son of Richard Buckminster Fuller and Caroline Wolcott Andrews, and grand-nephew of the American Transcendentalist Margaret Fuller. He spent much of his youth on Bear Island, in Penobscot Bay off the coast of Maine. He attended Froebelian Kindergarten. He had trouble with geometry, being unable to understand the abstraction that a chalk dot on the blackboard represented a mathematical point, or that an imperfectly drawn line with an arrow on the end was meant to stretch off to infinity. He often made items from materials he found in the woods, and sometimes made his own tools. He experimented with designing a new apparatus for human propulsion of small boats. By age 12, he had invented a ‘push pull’ system for propelling a rowboat by use of an inverted umbrella connected to the transom with a simple oar lock which allowed the user to face forward to point the boat toward its destination. Later in life, Fuller took exception to the term “invention”.
Years later, he decided that this sort of experience had provided him with not only an interest in design, but also a habit of being familiar with and knowledgeable about the materials that his later projects would require. Fuller earned a machinist’s certification, and knew how to use the press brake, stretch press, and other tools and equipment used in the sheet metal trade
Buckminster Fuller – Everything I Know – session 01 (entire) – January 20, 1975
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