In 1968, futurist, systems theorist, and architect R. Buckminster Fuller (1895–1983) visited London, Ontario. Then at the height of his global fame, Fuller was best known for patenting the design for geodesic domes, as well as for his proto-environmentalist description of the planet as “Spaceship Earth.” For six days, he gave talks and met with artists, planners, industrialists, architects, and students at Western University. Throughout, Fuller mixed his thoughts on London with his own utopian vision for the future, which focused heavily on the interconnectedness of different processes on the planet.
More than fifty years later, we revisit Fuller’s visit to London in a very different time. From Remote Stars: Buckminster Fuller, London, and Speculative Futures is framed by a recording made by artist Greg Curnoe (1936–92) of a talk given in London by Fuller, and brings together the work of 22 artists, from the 1960s to the present. These works range from video to photography, painting, installation, and sculpture. The exhibition explores Fuller’s futuristic theories, while addressing the gaps in his techno-utopian vision for progress by highlighting many pathways to different futures. Today’s reality—climate change, the advent of big data and artificial intelligence, and increasing global interdependence—reveals Fuller’s inventiveness, as well as his limitations.
Artists: Shuvinai Ashoona, Christina Battle, Katherine Boyer, Heather Campbell, Greg Curnoe, Jade Doskow, Gillian Dykeman, Erin Elder, David Hartt, Farhiya Jama, Jessica Karuhanga, Mary Kavanagh, Rita Letendre, Colin Lyons, Jason McLean, Doug Mitchell, Kitaay bizhikikwe/Amanda Myers, Julie Nagam, Dan Patterson, Skawennati, Amanda White, and Kelly Wood.
The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated multi-authored publication with critical essays by art historian Eva Díaz, Kirsty Robertson and Sarah E.K. Smith, as well as an interview with author Kerri Sakamoto.
For information on visiting the exhibition, please see Museum London’s website.
Image credit: Buckminster Fuller at Althouse College, November 9, 1968, Bill Ironside, London Free Press negative archives, Archives and Special Collections, Western Libraries.