November 7th, 2011 · Performa 11 Staff

Liz Glynn Occupies the Financial District with a Buckminster Fuller-Inspired Geodesic Dome

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Inspired by Buckminster Fuller’s faltering geodesic dome experiment in 1948, artist Liz Glynn successfully re-created the project for Performa 11. With a team of nearly 15 people, Glynn and her crew erected this lightweight structure in the heart of the Financial District at One New York Plaza in a matter of a couple of hours. The act was similar to what Fuller had done in 1948, when he gathered a group of his students at the avant-garde Black Mountain College to erect an architecturally scaled geodesic dome based on his models. Despite its actual failure, this experiment eventually led one of Fuller’s students, Kenneth Sneleson, to develop "tensegrity," an engineering principle, which allowed Fuller - and eventually Glynn - to create functional geodesic structures on a large scale.

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Buckminister Fuller's geodesic dome

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Buckminister Fuller's Dome over Manhattan, 1960, a utopian proposal to put an energy-saving bubble around midtown Manhattan.
 
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Left: Liz Glynn, Utopia or Oblivian Part II. 2011.  Right: Buckminister Fuller's geodesic dome at Black Mountain College, 1949.

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