Conference + Design Science Day Presenters

Ayach, Nini

Nini Ayach is from Paris and North Carolina. As a puppeteer, she has worked with Theodora Skipatares, Bread and Puppet, and Great Small Works. Having recently returned from a residency at ArtEllewa art space in Cairo, she is currently living in New York working as assistant director for Circus Amok and curating shows at The Poetry Club Artspace. This August she co­-organized the first Greenpoint Pre-Apocalyptic Theatre Festival in Brooklyn, NY.

The Dymaxion Theatre

Part game, part performance, the Dymaxion Theatre takes its inspiration from Buckminster Fuller’s World Game, as well as from his insistence on imagination, possibilities, and desire to dream of a united Earth. The performance/project will be divided into two sections, one of which will be the gaming/brainstorming section, the second of which will be the performances, which will be done in a toy-theatre-sized Dymaxion Theatre, in the form of an abstracted puppet show.

Belt, Judith

Assistant Professor, Department of Technology, State University of New York at Oswego, Oswego, New York. Awarded College Educator of the Year by New York State Technology and Engineering Educators Association, 2010. Award of Excellence from New York State Technology Education Association, 2009. President’s Award for Academic Advisement. State University of New York at Oswego, 2007. Memberships include: Society for Technical Communications, Association for Teachers of Technical Writing, Advisory Council for New York State Technology and Engineering Educators Association, New York State STEM Education Collaborative, SNEC Inc., SUNY Oswego’s Sustainability Climate Academic Steering Committee, President’s Climate Commitment and Environmental Sustainability Team, Educational Technology Committee for School of Education, Management team for Oswego Women in STEM Project. Research interests include: Women in Technology, Technology’s Impacts on Society, Literacy across the Curriculum, Sustainability in the Curriculum, Student Academic Support Services.

Connections: people, places, and things through nature

“Realize that everything connects to everything else,” (Leonardo da Vinci).

How are Socrates, da Vinci, Johann Pestalozzi, Edward Austin Sheldon, Buckminster Fuller, Janine Benyus, and Theodor Seuss Geisel connected? How are the Common Core Learning Standards, adopted by 45 states in the United States and the Next Generation Science Standards connected to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), to these individuals, and to students in our education system? This presentation will attempt to answer these questions and feature the work in some New York schools that use NATURE to bring Common Core and STEM education into classrooms and improve learning outcomes. A work in progress, always remembering: “Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed . . .” (Buckminster Fuller).


Bober, Waldemar

Associated professor at the Division of Building Structures, Faculty of Architecture, Wroclaw University of Technology, Poland, doctorate in the subject of multilayer formation of spatial structures (2003). For twenty-five years he has been a designer of structural systems for different types of buildings. In teaching, he is specialized in the design of modern systems structures theory. Since 1996 has been an active participant in international conferences of IASS (International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures).

Shaping Irregular Bar Structures: Analysis of a Model

In the research model an attempt to generate spatial bar system of considerable irregularity was made. The results of research on models constructed with the methods presented in this paper evidence the possibility of application of some topological rules to shaping of irregular bar lattices. Geometric representations of structural meshes in the shape of graphs are free from complex affine dependencies whose consideration stops the creation of architectural outline, especially in the preliminary phases of design. The forms obtained in this process are applicable in architectural design of unique objects.


Boone, N. S.

N. S. Boone received his PhD from Auburn University where he defended his dissertation on the Black Mountain Poets. He now resides in Searcy, Arkansas where he works as an Assistant Professor of English at Harding University. He has published a handful of poems, literary criticism, and scholarly work in journals such as Wascana Review, Southern Humanities Review, Georgetown Review, Renascence, and Studies in the Humanities.            

The Problem of Olson’s Didacticism

Olson’s teaching at Black Mountain College is the stuff of legend; however, while his many devotees come close to worshiping at his feet, plenty of others over the years have seen in Olson nothing more than an armchair philosopher who used a macho, combative style of presentation as a bullying device and who was, in the end, not particularly sensitive to students. Olson’s many critics have seen in Olson’s Maximus Poems the same kind of approach to the poem that he took towards his classes at Black Mountain. The problem with seeing Olson as a teacher in his poems is that such an overbearing didacticism seems to run counter to the sense of openness towards existence that Olson sets forth in his seminal essay “Projective Verse” (as well as many other works), when he seeks to establish “open,” or “projective” poetry as the antidote to a literary culture obsessed with “closed” verse forms. This presentation will seek to work out the problems of Olson’s didacticism by demonstrating that, through adherence to a kind of practical reason, an Olson poem is able to remain open to experience while also vehemently resisting certain aspects of modern American culture. Olson’s openness is, then, qualified extensively by a moral concern for others, a concern that involves a healthy dose of resistance.


Brennan, Martin

My experience in the design of hands-on, introductory exhibits on Fuller began with a series in the early seventies that I installed at many of his lectures at public venues and educational institutions around the country. They were available for weeks prior to his appearances, preparing audiences for his unique comprehensive approach and nomenclature. For example, this was a time when the word synergy was unfamiliar, as he often proved by asking the audience if anyone knew the definition. At the university placements including University of Illinois, NYU, Harvard, Roosevelt University, and University of Texas, the exhibit was used in courses across disciplines, recalling Bucky’s famous quote, “Nature has no departments.”

How Nature Builds

This dynamic presentation has an exhibit section with a series of long tables displaying a sequence of simple models and their descriptive panels. Then, a “Make Your Own” section where participants can engage in craft their own geometric forms with simple materials. The exhibit highlights geometric models of the closest packing of spheres which clearly demonstrates Nature’s system for the construction and movement of matter in the Universe and ends with the amazing Jitterbug model. It is imperative to the understanding of Synergetics to feel the unexpected effect of spherical arrangements that is impossible on paper or computer screens. Participants have the opportunity to experience the actual movement of congruent spheres and spherical events such as atoms. Having handled these models of Nature’s triangular structural system, participants then move to the model-making tables to assemble take-home stick models of triangular polygons using spice drops, toothpicks and mini-marshmallows. Exhibit also includes extra-large Jitterbug structures.


Cappuccio, Richard with David Gorman

Richard Cappuccio’s interest in Black Mountain College came about through what he thought were unrelated interests in Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley, Jacob Lawrence, and Buckminster Fuller. He taught for most of his career in New York City; he now lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.   He has most recently written about the short story writer Katherine Mansfield.

Domicile: Practical Realities of Building and Living in a Geodesic Dome

After he left religious life, David Gorman moved from New York to build a geodesic dome in which he still lives in the woods on Shannon Farm, an intentional community in Nelson County, Virginia. In March 1986, Gorman cleared a site for his structure. For the next two years he kept detailed records of his plans and construction of the thirty-foot diameter, 5/8’s dome. The presentation will build upon those journals, letters, and daily photos preserved from the time Gorman spent building the dome with a focus on his solutions for problems left unaddressed in the literature.


Challons-Lipton, Siu with Richard Emanuel

Dr. Siu Challons-Lipton received her doctorate of philosophy degree in 19th Century Art from the University of Oxford, England, and her bachelor’s and master’s of art degrees in Baroque Art from the University of McGill in Montreal, Canada. She also trained at Sotheby’s, London, in 19th- and 20th-century Decorative Arts. Dr. Challons-Lipton’s field of expertise lies in 19th- and 20th-century art and criticism, and in the business of art. She also teaches classes in the history of design, photography and women artists. Her research interests include: 19th-Century Academic and Realist Art, Internationalism in Paris of the late 19th Century, Scandinavian Art of the 19th- and 20th-Centuries, and more recently, The Black Mountain School of North Carolina.

Fully Awake? Fully Connected? The need for a Black Mountain Education

The need for increased creativity in education is currently being proposed in much innovative thinking on higher education as universities are forced to recreate themselves. The teaching example of the experimental Black Mountain College of North Carolina from the 1930s to the 1950s is once again relevant to our approach to education with its dedication to educational and artistic experimentation, including cross-disciplinary collaboration and the fostering of individuality. A liberal arts education is the example for the future as a directive to action, the development of character, and an education for life as an active citizen. The example of how to live is a more vital education than discipline-specific knowledge. John Andrew Rice, one of the founders of Black Mountain College, upheld art as a means of achieving this, as artists sought to expand understanding with creativity and experience.


Chin, Mel (Featured Speaker)

Mel Chin was born in Houston, Texas and began making art at an early age. Mel’s art, which is both analytical and poetic, evades easy classification. He is known for the broad range of approaches in his art, including works that require multi-disciplinary, collaborative teamwork and works that conjoin cross-cultural aesthetics with complex ideas. He developed Revival Field (1989-ongoing), a project that pioneered the field of “green remediation,” the use of plants to remove toxic, heavy metals from the soil. A current project, Operation Paydirt/Fundred Dollar Bill Project, focuses on making cities lead-safe. Mel is also well known for his iconic sculptures, works that often address the importance of memory and collective identity, and for inserting art into unlikely places, including destroyed homes, toxic landfills, and even popular television, investigating how art can provoke greater social awareness and responsibility. His work is exhibited extensively in the U.S. and abroad and was documented in the popular PBS program, Art of the 21st Century. His proposal for a New World Trade Center was part of the American representation at the 2002 Venice Biennale of Architecture. Mel is the recipient of numerous national and international awards, including three honorary doctorates. A retrospective of his work will open at the New Orleans Museum of Art in 2014.


Artist Mel Chin presents two major projects: Operation Paydirt/Fundred Dollar Bill Project is a nation-wide program that seeks to exchange the creative value of drawn currency, literally by the people, for actions and solutions to prevent childhood lead poisoning. The Potential Project is a new intervention for the displaced refugees of the Western Sahara that envisions the first currency in the world to utilize the artistic expressions of its generations (child, teen to adult) to guide its design and to have its value backed by the power of the sun.


Clinton, Joseph D. (Featured Speaker)

Joseph D. Clinton is a Design Scientist and Partner at Buckminster Fuller, Sadao & Zung Architects. He has more than fifty years of experience as a comprehensive anticipatory design scientist and holds patents in the structure field and has an international reputation in the mathematics of polyhedra. His work has been exhibited in a number of museums and galleries. He continues to make time to conduct research, present workshops, and develop Synergetic Geometry educational kits.

Buckminster Fuller’s Spring Waters began to flow

A brief history leading up to Buckminster Fuller’s “magic summer” Eureka moment in 1948 at Black Mountain College will be given. His discovery of the ‘Jitterbug’ concept will be explained, along with others that further contribute to its expanding development. This will be followed by a brief history of its influence in many disciplines.

The Black Mountain College Dance of the “Jitterbug” Update

While in Forest Hills, New York Buckminster Fuller spent two years researching his ideas on Energetic-Synergetic Geometry. The following year during the summer of 1948 at BMC he discovered the ‘Jitterbug’ transformation. It was a Eureka moment and marked the beginning of most of his unique discoveries. The workshop will give each participant the opportunity to make and take a model of one of the developments emerging from Fuller’s original thought.


Debelius, C. A. and D. Jason Miller

C. A. Debelius, AIA, LEED AP (BD+C), is an Associate Professor at Appalachian State University. He teaches undergraduate design studios and statics courses in the Building Science program. Debelius is also an Associate Director of Forward, the AIA NAC’s architecture and design journal. Professor Debelius is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. His most recent paper, “Landscape with Human Figure,” was presented and published in the proceedings of the 2011 ACSA Fall Conference in Houston. Other recent papers include “Integrating Technology: Reflections on Pollan’s A Place of My Own: The Architecture of Daydreams” (2011 National Conference on the Beginning Design Student), “Reflections on Simultaneity, Ambiguity, and the ‘Jellyfish’ Drawings of Daniel Castor” (2007 ACSA Annual Meeting), and “El-Lissitzky, Irrational Space, and the Proun Studies” (2003 International ACSA Conference). In 2007, Debelius’s design work was the subject of a solo exhibition at The Knoxville Museum of Art. C. A. Debelius’s professional experience includes design positions at SOM/San Francisco, The FWA Group/Charlotte, The Lewis Group/Knoxville, and Spectra Tech/Oak Ridge TN.

Structural Paradigms & Vacation Homes: Prefabricated Translations of R. Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion Vision

This presentation seeks to position Buckminster Fuller’s paradigm-shifting vision of domesticity championed by the Dymaxion House as a notable, if unintended, regional influence on a more ‘populist’ architectural product during the latter half of the twentieth century.

Design Innovation: Thought on Bicycle Wheels, Wings and Three Large Tensegrity Structures

In the spirit of the theme Looking Forward at Buckminster Fuller’s Legacy and in the context of Buckminster Fuller’s development of the principle of Tensegrity, this presentation describes the primary structural concepts underlying a series of tensegrity structures of increasing size and complexity.


Dunn, Ann

Ann Dunn, Lecturer in The Medieval and Renaissance World at the University of North Carolina at Asheville and Artistic Director of The Asheville Ballet, trained and/or performed with New York City Ballet, Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, The American Ballet, the Hartford Ballet, and as a solo artist or with her own companies across the world. She has pursued Shakespearian Studies, including presenting and publishing in academic conferences and peer-reviewed journals, from NYU to IU to UNCA, to completing all course work and dissertation at USC, with a minor in Italian Renaissance Literature. She is the recipient of academic and artistic awards and honors, from North Carolina Artist of the Year and UNCA’s Distinguished Teaching Award in the Humanities, to choreography for Turandot for New York City Opera at Lincoln Center, and was one of 18 company directors from around the US to be invited to New York City Ballet’s honorary weekend for outstanding artistic directors.

Bucky, A Ballet in Four Sections

Ann Dunn will present an original piece called, Bucky: a four movement ballet based on principles of Buckminster Fuller’s work, for which an original score is being created, and which will feature Atlanta sculptor Chad Awalt’s “torso” as a centerpiece. Each section, “Geodesic,” “Synergetics,” “Dymaxion,” and “World Game,” explores one of Fuller’s key ideas. The paper, which will explore the translation of Fuller’s work into movement, will be integrated with the ballet.


Egan, Jim

Jim Egan is a photographer and historian and curator of the Newport Tower Museum. He has authored three books involving Buckminster Fuller’s Synergetics.

Synergetic Geometry and Syndex Number Rhythms

In 1981, Robert Marshall from California sent Buckminster Fuller a package summarizing his decades of research in numbers. Marshall had found the same rhythms in the number realm that Bucky had found in geometry. Bucky was so excited, he asked Marshall if he would be willing to explain his findings in a third volume of Synergetics. Unfortunately, before Marshall could assemble his work for publication, Bucky died.

While doing research in the history of mathematics, I came across a Renaissance philosopher who wrote that there is only one master number, what he called the Philosophers Stone of Number: 252. This number held the key to understanding some important rhythms in numbers. In further research, I came across a site of Marshall’s mathematics that demonstrated that he knew why 252 was so special. Marshall and I corresponded for 10 years and he shared with me much of his findings, which he called “Syndex.” I would love to share with my fellow-Fuller-followers how 252 integrates with Bucky’s vector equilibrium in a way that demonstrates that geometry and number are two sides of the same coin.


Emanuel, Richard with Siu Challons-Lipton

Richard Emanuel, Ph.D. in Communication Theory and Research from Florida State University. He has taught a variety of communication courses at two-year and four-year private and public colleges over the past two decades. He is currently Professor of Communication at Alabama State University in Montgomery, Alabama.


Esterle, Dick

Dick Esterle is an artist, architect, and the inventor of the Nobbly Wobbly ball, Klackeroo, Space Chips and the Amazing Geometry Machine. Early in his career, working for the artist Isamu Noguchi, his interest in a particular tensegrity model, gave rise to the Amazing Geometry Machine and led him into the world of toy design. He has been invited to speak about his particular approach to patterns and spatial relationships in venues internationally.

Tetrahedron discovers the Amazing Geometry Machine and goes Klackeroo: a precessional progression of a twisted idea

Dick Esterle presents the synergetic synchronistic behaviors of universe that led along the path to his discoveries of patterning universe and the invention of Dynamic Polystring Transformahedra Modeling, resulting in the Amazing Geometry Machine. From Bucky to Bullwinkle and Rocky, David Letterman and Isamu Noguchi, the path to Klackeroo and Nobbly Wobbly, Space Chips and beyond is filled with twists and turns along with geometrical insights.

Space Chips, Nobbly Wobbly Balls & The Amazing Geometry Machine

Explore these great geometric toys with their inventor, Dick Esterle who will be inviting people of all ages to construct colorful 3-D geometric forms. Dick will also be demonstrating the construction of his invention, the Amazing Geometry machine, a dynamic polystring transformahedra which creatively extends the realm of tensegrity modelings.


Fearnley, CJ

CJ Fearnley is an explorer in universe, a comprehensivist, a synergeticist, and an initiative-taker. CJ has particular expertise in building organizations, managing information technology projects, Debian GNU/Linux systems administration, mathematics and philosophy. He is Executive Director of the Synergetics Collaborative (, a 501(c)(3) educational and scientific non-profit, building on Buckminster Fuller’s Synergetics legacy. He writes a blog at

Education Automation Now and in the Future

Buckminster Fuller’s 1962 book “Education Automation” presents a grand vision for the big problem of global education. The modern Open Educational Resources (OER) movement provides free educational

resources including video tutorials and courses globally to anyone with an Internet connection. This talk will examine the status of Bucky’s vision for “Education Automation” in the context of the OER movement. The talk will be illustrated based on my experience “completing” 18 free on-line video courses over the past five years.

Synergetics and Model Thinking

This talk will compare and contrast Buckminster Fuller’s Synergetics with the emerging Model Thinking movement. Model Thinking is Scott E. Page’s attempt to synthesize the significant developments in the social sciences over the past 40 years into a theory based on complex systems, a toolkit of many models, and results about diversity in problem-solving, learning, and socio-cultural evolution. Will Synergetics be able to contribute to or even lead the Model Thinking movement in the 21st century or does this new approach to bridging the humanities and the sciences represent a paradigm change that will relegate Synergetics into the dustbin of eclipsed scientific systems?


Fisher, Jonathan

Jonathan Fisher is originally from the Southern Appalachian Mountains, and has been a teacher and student in North Carolina, in Japan and most recently in Canada. Jonathan is currently enrolled in the Graduate Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. His Master’s Thesis focuses on the History, and Curriculum of Black Mountain College as an institution exemplary of early 20th Century Progressive Post-Secondary Educational Philosophy.

Probing the Limits of Modernism: R. Buckminster Fuller’s Educational Philosophy and Black Mountain Progressivism

This paper focuses on R. Buckminster Fuller’s Educational Philosophy. In his teaching and writing Fuller drew a great deal from Harvard physicist P.W. Bridgman’s Operationalism; however Fuller’s Operationalist views on Education were likely challenged by the views he came into contact with during his stay at Black Mountain College in 1948 and 1949. The program at Black Mountain College often exemplified a Progressivism informed by John Dewey’s Pragmatism. Particular attention in this paper is paid to Fuller’s personal experiences as a student and teacher, as well as to his particular conception of Social Justice.


Frank, Andrew with Tommy Poole-Frank

Andrew is a designer, published artist and puppeteer. He has created numerous geometric models for educational purposes, and used them in many educational settings. He recently spent 7 years working in the private sector developing Concentrating Solar Power, which included 4 years at the National Solar Thermal Test Facility. He is currently developing a small-scale sustainable farm in Western North Carolina, with poultry, berries, vegetables, herbs and aquaculture.

Explorations of Synergetic and Other Models for Educational Purposes

Design science education is an essential tool for making humanity a colossal success on Spaceship Earth. The benefits of using geometric models and bubble geometry for design education will be explored. Geometric models and modeling systems, developed by the author, will be presented. Some geometric puppets may show up to represent their constituency.


Fuller Snyder, Allegra (Conference Keynote Speaker)

Allegra Fuller Snyder is Buckmister Fuller’s only living child and is the Founder, first President, and now Board member emeritus of the Buckminster Fuller Institute. She is also Professor Emerita of Dance and Dance Ethnology, UCLA; 1992 American Dance Guild Honoree of the Year; former Chair of the Department of Dance; and founding Coordinator of the World Arts and Cultures Program. She has been on the Dance Faculty at Cal Arts as well as Professor of Performance Studies at New York University, and Honorary Visiting Professor at the University of Surrey, Guildford, England. She began her career as a performer and choreographer and has been concerned with the relation of dance to film since the late 1940s. She has made several prize winning documentary films on dance. She has done dance research around the world, was the recipient of several Fulbright Scholarships. Among many special projects Snyder was a Core Consultant on the PBS series DANCING for WNET/Channel 13. Recently returning to performance, Jennifer Fisher of the LA times said of her in “Spirit Dances 6: Inspired by Isadora,” “She was a haiku and an epic.”


Gorman, David with Richard Cappuccio

David Gorman was born in New York City in 1943; he was a Catholic brother for ten years. After receiving his BA in Math, he taught in junior and senior high schools. In the late 60s, he became enamored of the images of geodesic domes in rural settings: “It was love at first sight.” In 1979 he moved to a 400 acre “hippie-like community” near Afton, Virginia and in 1986-7 constructed his dome as a permanent home.


Gross, Monika

Presented by Monika Gross, a senior teacher of the Alexander Technique and co-owner of Form Fitness & Function, along with colleagues from Alexander Teachers of the Mountain Area (ATMA).

Biotensegrity and the Alexander Technique

An informal participatory event exploring Dr. Stephen M. Levin’s theory of Biotensegrity through the psychophysical learning principles of the F.M. Alexander Technique. Like one of Fuller’s delightfully buoyant tensegrity toys, participants are invited to discover their own capacity for suspension, spring and motion in a playful environment.


Hanf, Mark

Mark Hanf, Project Director of Aboard Spaceship Earth, focuses on designing and producing hands-on and digital tools for the 21st century classroom that allow students of   all ages to engage in global studies and sustainable design. He also facilitates professional development workshops for numerous institutions and has presented at the BMC National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks Workshop.

Mark Hanf & Friends with Special Guest Alexandra May: Exploring Bucky’s Big World Map with Aboard Spaceship Earth Global Studies Kit

The Aboard Spaceship Earth Global Studies Kit features a large “classroom-size” Fuller projection World Map with colorful hands-on graphing tools and sets of dynamic global data cards for exploring “How the World can Work for 100% of Humanity.

Earthships and Spaceship Earth: Exploring Synergetic and Sustainable Architecture

The Dymaxion House and Fuller’s many sustainable designs inspired a generation of architects to think in terms of comprehensive approaches to shelter with integrated systems. One architect in particular that built upon Fuller’s designs was Michael Reynolds, designer of Earthship Biotecture. Earthship houses are completely autonomous homes that incorporate passive solar design, rainwater catchment, solar and wind power, greywater systems, composting toilets, indoor food production, and use recycled materials like cans, bottles and automobile tires. Both Fuller and Reynolds share a vision of all of humanity having access to shelter that is in harmony with the planet.


Hansen-Smith, Bradford

A sculptor at forty, I took a class in Fuller’s geometry taught by Hazel Larsen Archer. Ten years into exploring patterns of movement and transformational systems lead me to fold circles. It has been an ongoing investigation working internationally with teachers, schools, anyone with interest, as well as writing books about what I observe about the beauty and inclusive nature of the circle. There is no other shape or form that comprehensively demonstrates unity.


We will explore the process of folding circles, observing information that is generated to know what options we have, what directions are revealed. Through direct experience we understand the comprehensive and self-organizing nature of the circle, not observable in other forms of modeling. Folding circles is an experiential shifting of perception towards a balance between constructing product and the revelation of universal information. This is not about paper folding; it is about the circle, which after the first fold you will never think about again in the same way.


Harris, Mary Emma

Mary Emma Harris has long been regarded as the most prominent scholar of Black Mountain College in the United States and beyond. Her 1987 book, The Arts at Black Mountain College (The MIT Press) is – along with Martin Duberman’s 1972 Black Mountain College: An Exploration in Community – the most indisputably influential publication on the history of Black Mountain College. In 1999 Harris founded the Black Mountain College Project, a not-for-profit corporation registered in New York State, to document and preserve the history of the college. The Project has preserved a large number of documents of former Black Mountain College faculty and students. Ms. Harris is the recipient of two Independent Scholar Grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the first in 1973 and the second in 1979 with matching funds from the Graham Foundation, the John Dewey Foundation and the William C. Whitney Foundation.

Domes, Disciples, and Dramatic Interventions: Buckminster Fuller at Black Mountain College

In June 1948, Bertrand Goldberg, who had to cancel his appointment as summer teacher of architecture, recommended his friend Buckminster Fuller. With some misgivings, the college agreed and Fuller arrived a couple of weeks late with his trailer crammed with models and rolls of Venetian blind strips. The project for the summer was to construct his first dome using Venetian blind strips. The assumed failure of the dome – it did not rise and was christened the “Supine Dome” – was accepted by the community with good cheer and philosophical musing. For the 1948-49 school sessions, Fuller taught in Chicago at the Institute of Design. There her and his students designed and constructed a dome which did rise using cable and hollow tubing. Fuller returned to Black Mountain College for the 1949 summer, bringing with him a group of students from the Institute of Design. at Black Mountain they raised the dome and worked on a plastic covering. The presentation will (1) place Fuller professionally at that time in his career, (2) describe Fuller’s work and place it in the context of other activities at the college when he was there, and (3) look briefly at the college’s influence on his work after 1949.


Heller, Eric

When I was 12, I found a copy of Fuller’s Synergetics on my mother’s bookshelf. The moment I opened it, I became fascinated with polyhedra and started making geometric models immediately. Over the years I have tried many modeling techniques, but I found them all limited in some ways. Eventually I invented my own method – Klyp Styx (pronounced “clip sticks”), a simple system for joining sticks together in a variety of ways…very liberating!

Modeling Polyhedra and Related Structures with KLYP STYX

We will use Klyp Styx to make space frame models of polyhedra and related structures. Some of these models have surprising and amusing properties. With these models we will explore some of the relationships among the polyhedra and the nomenclature used to discuss them.


Hinnant, Vandorn

Painter, sculptor, poet, and educational consultant, Vandorn resides in Durham NC, USA. He received a BA in Art Design from North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro NC and studied sculpture at UNC-Greensboro. His works of art are in private collections in Africa, North America, and Europe, and in public collections across North America. He leads hands-on experiential workshops on “The Geometry of Art and Life” for learners of all ages. He is co-author (with Robert L. Powell, Sr and Jr) of the book: “The Rest Of Euclid“; a definitive treatise on the long overlooked implications of proposition one in Volume One of “Euclid’s Elements“. He has served as guest curator of exhibitions, as juror of many fine art competitions, guest lecturer at colleges and universities and as an independent arts educational consultant working with both youth and adult learners. Currently, he is developing sculpture maquettes (models) to be fabricated into permanent materials.

An Encounter with Beauty: Discovering the Mandala Through the Geometry of Life – Drawing Workshop

The Geometry of Life is an ancient system of observation of various levels of order within the universe embodying the Golden/Divine Proportion (Golden Mean), Dynamic Symmetry, Fibonacci numbers, et cetera. The Mandala, the Sanskrit word for circle, has historically served humankind as a symbolic reminder of this universal order, as a meditation process, and as tool for the attainment of various degrees of self and cosmic integration and as a self-integrating/centering exercise and window to discovery. This session leads one through an introduction to a system of exercises using the compass, the ruler (a straight edge), and colored pencils and pens.(With this equipment one may generate drawings that furnish a working definition of balance, order, beauty, harmony, the fractal, and dynamic and radial symmetry. Each drawing is constructed from the foundation of two arbitrary points placed on a worksheet. These points are used to develop a variety of compositions (ranging from simple to complex) made entirely of circles and straight lines.


Holyland, Peter

Musical Tone Organization and Display using the Vector Equilibrium

A Vector Equilibrium (Cuboctahedron) model has been built to represent the 12 repeating notes of the Western music octave. The symmetries of musical notes and chords have been mapped to the symmetries of the Vector Equilibrium (VE). Software has been developed to display these vector movements in real time to accompany music, as a ‘flying’ VE with or without a tail. The VE has seven shells representing 7 octaves. On playing a note the vertex lights up and the VE moves away from its centre position in the direction of its vector. Multiple VE’s can represent numerous voices or instruments. The structure and form of complete compositions can be displayed as 3D vector diagrams, with the traces of the vectors being equivalent to a music notation system (sheet music). Comparison with conventional musical structural analysis indicates vectors display equivalent large scale changes in direction and movement style.


Kapoor, Janell

Janell Kapoor is the Founding Director of Kleiwerks International. She is an avid mud mama, global movement-builder, designer and teacher whose work has inspired people from over 52 countries to build their own homes with what they have where they are. She led the initial ecological design-build trainings in Thailand, Argentina and Turkey, which resulted in the building of educational centers, training programs, businesses, policy change and regional movements of hundreds of thousands of mud people. Janell lives in the oldest mountains on the planet at the Ashevillage Institute, a one-acre permaculture site that features residential and urban solutions, such as an 18,000 gallon five-pond rainwater catchment and aquaponic greenhouse system, edible and medicinal landscape, recycled courtyard kitchen, beautiful mud art and a naturally-renovated guest house. Janell is currently launching the Women of the Americas Sustainability Initiative (WASI), an action-oriented alliance of women leaders who construct, educate, organize and advocate for strong and empowered communities through ecological design-build practices, with the aim of creating a socially and ecologically resilient world.

Hands-On Building from Place: Natural Sculpting with Local Clay, Sand and Straw

Come participate in making and sculpting of natural plaster finishes using local clays, sand and straw. The sculpture will be based on natural geometry.


Lansford, Steve

Steve Lansford has been, by turns, an actor, musician, composer, artist, radio announcer, language instructor, and freelance translator, sometimes wearing many of these hats at once over the past two decades. Most notably, he has collaborated, performed, and recorded with his friend and fellow avant-garde artist Bob Boster under the moniker of the constantly morphing Mr. Meridies electronic music ensemble. In 1999, he performed, acted, and provided original music in a well-received reworking of Sam Shepard’s Tongues at the Artscenter in Carrboro, NC. As a practicing Buddhist who has lived in Japan and France as well as in the US, and as someone who has heavily imbibed the language and art of all three of these cultures, his creative output continually strives to embody the best that both East and West have to offer.  


Those familiar with Edwin Abbot’s work Flatland will certainly recognize “Thoughtland” as Abbot’s suggested term for the fourth dimension, but I also find it to be an appropriate description of the “weightless” dimension of the mind, which Fuller often mentioned in contradistinction to the physical brain. Fuller would have been the first to assert that abstract know-how, creativity, and intelligence are just as essential to our survival as are our physical resources, and my presentation, using a carefully crafted combination of words, images, and music, would vividly illustrate how our minds, along with our physical senses, combine to form the collective intelligence by which our present-day society operates. Overall, I hope to present Fuller’s ideas in a fresh new light, awakening the artist and scientist in all of us.


Leidtke, Amy

Amy Leidtke, Principal of Leidtke Design, is an accomplished industrial designer, artist and educator with a standing record of success combining the disciplines of research, strategic and master planning, ideation and design development, participatory design workshops, in an inclusive professional design practice.

Ms. Leidtke has been directly responsible for the planning, management and coordination of projects reaching millions of people. From studio to shop, she is experienced in all facets of the design process, including brainstorming, programming, design and production. Leidtke is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Industrial Design and the Department of Continuing Education at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where she teaches design courses, for K-12, undergraduate and graduate levels.

A True Story of Nature-Inspired Design Innovation

Nature has an impressive track record of solving problems. She uses only the resources necessary to get the job done in an elegant, brilliant, and collaborative way. What with her being so capable and beautiful how could we humans help but take notice? Arguably, we would do well to learn from both her failures and successes, to study her design principles, and to seek solutions to problems with respect to her example, especially in the case of developing innovations. It is true that there is a long history of human’s being in awe of Nature. She inspires design. How does the act of looking to nature enable artist’s, designer’s, and engineer’s process of discovery? What modes of inquiry facilitate creative learning? What is the motivation and benefit of looking to nature for design inspiration? This presentation will address these questions, using art and design history as the lens for investigation, demonstrating how humans are inspired by nature’s design innovation, learning from nature’s problem solving method, and applying the lessons through research, observation, making, testing, and problem-solving –– critical investigations involved in the process of developing and creating art, products, furniture, architecture, and systems applications. The presentation will conclude with audience discussion and reflections.  

See for more information.


Mack, Ben

I am a magician seeking the help of Bucky’s forces orchestrating 100% biodegradable packaging by 2020 in conjunction with Arizona State University’s Campus Environment Team, and everybody else who wants to play. I am also one of the three kids who went Cosmic Fishing with Bucky in 1980 for three days. In Cosmography, Bucky refers to me as interested in the tricks of magicians, and eights years after meeting Bucky, at age 20, I won the Award of Merritt from The Academy of Magical Arts, making me the youngest recipient in the history of the award. In terms of applied magick, The American Marketing Association credits me as the “brand strategist” responsible for re-popularized yo-yos in 1998, what People Magazine called one of the Top-10 Trends of the 1990’s. My show is an Intermedia Performance Art Magic Show in the frame of a help-raising drive to support the first instance of global spontaneous cooperation, without ecological damage, or disadvantage to anyone on 12/12/12 in the form of The Wave Around The World.

Who else is interested in the tricks of magicians? (a tribute to Bucky)

How do we make the world for 100% of humanity? Through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological damage, or disadvantage to anybody. Through the use of theatrical magic, suddenly see how The Wave Around The World might be the first instance of a global human topology comporting to Bucky’s specifications. Hear one theory, collaborated on by hundreds so far, on how if it was 2020, and we had inspired Wal*Mart to only shelve products with 100% biodegradable packaging by 2020, how did we do it?


May, Alexandra

Alexandra May, Granddaughter of Buckminster Fuller, has a lifetime of acquaintance with Fuller’s comprehensive perspective of “Spaceship Earth” systems and his anticipatory understanding of the global challenges we currently face. In 1988 she produced the introductory event of the Big Map experiential learning program in New York City to an audience of educators, philanthropists, politicians and journalists. She continues to be active in this area of education and currently serves as advisor to the Aboard Spaceship Earth Project.


McClain, John

John McClain teaches in the Humanities Program at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Since receiving his Ph.D. from Chapel Hill in 1993 his scholarship has focused on how political values are demonstrated in popular literature, art, and architecture. He presented a paper on the architectural history of Black Mountain College, “From Bauhaus to Black Mountain: constructus interruptus,” at the BMCC in 2009. He has lectured often on Philip Johnson.    

It is not Architecture. It is only Structure: Philip Johnson’s Critique of Buckminster Fuller as “Architect”

This paper will discuss Buckminster Fuller’s place in the history of architecture through the perspective of American architect and historian Philip Johnson. While deprecating Fuller as an architect, Johnson’s critique is also a self-analysis of the social role of “architect” that in fact redeems Fuller’s place in the 20th century. Thus Black Mountain College’s historical place is validated, too, as Fuller, in back-to-back years there, developed the geodesic dome beyond what others had done with it, resulting in long-term cultural impacts beyond “architecture” narrowly defined.


McConville, David (Featured Speaker) is a media artist and researcher specializing in the development of dome-based display technologies. He is co-founder of The Elumenati, a full service design and engineering firm specializing in the development and deployment of immersive visualization environments and experiences. The Elumenati provides systems integration, realtime software design, immersive content research, custom fabrication, and optical engineering for clientele ranging from art festivals to space agencies. David is conducting independent research as a Ph.D candidate in the Planetary Collegium through the University of Plymouth. His research focuses on the history and contemporary development of dome-based environments in the construction and shaping of worldviews. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Buckminster Fuller Institute for several years and is the newly elected President of that organization.


McLennan, Jason (Featured Speaker)

Considered one of the most influential individuals in the green building movement today, McLennan’s work has made a strong impact on the shape and direction of green building in the United States and Canada and he is a much sought after presenter and consultant on a wide-variety of green building and sustainability topics. Jason McLennan serves as the CEO of the Cascadia Green Building Council, the Pacific Northwest’s leading organization in the field of green building and sustainable development. Cascadia is a chapter of both the US Green Building Council and the Canadian Green Building Council. He is the author of the Living Building Challenge an international green building program and co-creator of Pharos, the most advanced building material rating system in North America. 2012 BuckminsterFullerChallengewinner, Living Building Challenge, defines the highest possible level of environmental performance, envisioning a built environment that is fully integrated with its ecosystem. It pushes the building industry to re-imagine business as usual, and it transforms building occupants from passive consumers into active stewards of increasingly scarce resources.


Moffett, Chris with Blake Seidenshaw

Interested neither in education, nor philosophy, nor art, Chris works with embodied experience as a way of unraveling the over-determined narrative spaces of “progress” to allow for new movements and organizations of the self. As a philosopher of education, he uses aesthetic, architectural, and sensory engagements as a way of engaging our habitual modes, if only to see what else is possible. He is a founding member of the artist’s collective ARE, engages in iterative shoe making, and recently walked across Paris in just over 40 hours—completely underground.

Buckminster Fuller and Black Mountain College, Allowing for Education as Precessional, Precession as Educational, and Educating for Precession

Bucky posited specialization was a kind of inhibitor of precessional tendencies, and this drove a good part of his public activities, lectures and seminars—one of the most famous of his educational experiments being his tenure at BMC, in an early and influential attempt at interdisciplinary education. Education, we could say, is always spinning— maintaining and extending itself in time, both as a practice and as a mythological narrative, by way of cyclical repetitions—and is thus available for precession. In this panel we will examine the ways in which these attempts to allow for movement along the orthogonal—without disrupting the cyclic and predictable forces of the disciplines per se, but allowing them to generate forces that cut across them, introducing uncanny effects—can be conceived as a radical engagement with educational dynamics. We might propose three generative and interwoven axes for the master-concept of Precession: not only does it illuminate a way forward for education, but the precessional elaboration/emergence of these possibilities is itself educational, and in turn it is through this emergent force of education that larger effects themselves might emerge.


Moore, Phillip

The Upland Hills School: Every child is a genius

For just over 40 years we have been conducting an educational experiment based on many of Bucky’s ideas. Uplands Hill School was founded in september of 1971. A group of educators and parents wanted their children to receive an education that was relevant to the times, one that would evolve and one that was based on the most comprehensive research in all fields of human endeavor…a school that was also devoted to the idea that every child is a genius…a school that was attuned to nature…a school that encouraged questioning…a school that was based on love. This presentation will focus on the general principles and values upon which Upland Hills School is based, especially regarding children ages 4 to 14 but also including scenarios for an entirely new educational model that would apply to preschool through lifelong learning centers.


Muller, Marnie

Marnie Muller, Co-Director of Geometry of Nature, specializes in dynamic “hands-on” geometry workshops for participants of all ages. As Co-Founder of Aboard Spaceship Earth, she collaborated on the design and production of the innovative ASE Global Studies Kit. She also designs and produces large, experiential Art/Science installations including the outdoor Universe Story Timescale Walk and has taught at the NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching and the BMC National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks Workshop.

Marnie Muller & Friends: Exploring 3-D Geometric Models with Soap Bubbles!

What happens when you take a tetrahedron and dip it in soapy water? Or an octahedron? Or an icosahedron? Or even a cube-octahedron (known as Bucky’s vector equilibrium)? Using hands-on 3-D Zometool models, you are invited to “drop by” and explore the curvatures and intrigue of bubble-faceted, multi-faceted hyper-dimensional geometric forms. 

Synergetic Geometry and the Art of Movement

This session presents a dynamic, interdisciplinary approach to experiencing a kinesthetic, anatomical sense of geometry within our own human bodies. Geometric forms such as the cubeoctahedron (also known as Fuller’s Vector Equilibrium) will be investigated as a martial-arts kind-of “scaffolding” or “training wheels” with which to become spatially literate in terms of one’s own spherical field.


Murphy, C. Crawford and Michael J. DeVere, Architects of Asheville, NC, are principles of MDS10 pllc and partners in CLT USA, Cross Laminated Timber, USA. The firms are located at 10 N. Spruce Street in Asheville, NC. MDS10 specializes in local midrise commercial downtown development projects, cost control systems, national and regional church architecture and church development processes. The firm also designs and manufactures custom church liturgical furnishings, church seating. and avant garde secular furnishings. The group will further be engaged in urban church and housing development projects nationally and in the Asheville region. CLT USA and their collaborations are engaged in the partnering of Cross Laminated Timber Technology and Production in the USA. CLT is the most advanced wood technology in the world, capable of high construction. CLT USA plans to manufacture CLT in the near future using Southern Yellow Pine. They will also be providing architectural design for various building types, structural engineering, CLT Plant design, equipment resources, and field erection for the US market. MDS10 has designed and erected the first pure CLT structure in the USA which was recipient of the National Woodworks Wood Engineering Award for 2011. 

Technology and Industry aligned with global warming reversal

Some technologies and industries strive for reduced CO2 emission processes and consider themselves as combating global warming and climate change. They are to be complimented but relatively there is a more dynamic technology and industry complementary to global warming reversal. This is Cross Laminated Timber, CLT, technology and building product. Now a 15 year technology in Europe, 6 years in Canada and now in Australia and New Zealand, CLT is dynamically aligned with global warming reversal.


Murphy, Thomas

Tom Murphy has found play in Edward Dorn’s Gunslinger that he feels is lacking in contemporary poetry and feels akin with the Chicago Review’s declaration of Dorn as an “American Heretic.” Besides working on Cyborg ontology in early 70s literature and Punk Culture, Murphy teaches at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi and is attending BMC Re-Viewing for the 4th time.

The Cyborg’s Dichotomous Shifts in Edward Dorn’s Slinger

This presentation on Black Mountain College alumnus Edward Dorn’s Gunslinger will discuss the shifts of the dichotomies between the Robart/Rupert cyborg and the Slinger/Zlinger in Books III & IIII that not only allows the Howard Hughes character to slip through the posse’s collective hands or hooves, but each of these two are points of light seen as “blue shifted”[i] and “red shifted,”[ii] meaning the object viewed as approaching the wavelength decreases while increasing frequency and the object viewed as moving further away the wavelength increase while decreasing frequency respectively to the observer.[iii] In other words the light “shifts” can be used to determine the instability of the dichotomies after the emergence of the Robart/Rupert cyborg.


Myers, Thomas

Tensegrity and Human Structure

I studied with Bucky from 1969-71 in Carbondale. I was studying World Game with Meddy GAbel and others, but was happily immersed in all of Bucky’s thought. We built domes and pneumatic structures, tensegrities and games to simulate the world. I came across structural bodywork – Structural Integration, Osteopathy, etc. – and discovered tools for reforming the most proximate and useful environment you will ever have: your body. The idea that the body as a whole is a tensegrity (or tensegrity-like) structure impressed itself upon me – with the pioneering help of Stephen Levine ( Over the next several years, I developed the system of restraining myofascia – which is continuous – that pulls in against the compressional push of the isolated bones. Therapy that uses the plasticity of the tissue in order to change the tension on the human ‘guy-wires’ has proven very effective, especially for chronic issues and pains caused by trauma to another part of the body.


Neussle, Frank

Frank has been fascinated by Bucky since first meeting him in New York City in 1975. Frank teaches graduate courses in sustainability in the Organizational Dynamics program at the University of Pennsylvania and is currently deeply involved in large system change research with a focus on the impact of America’s system for the creation and distribution of money. Mr Nuessle is working closely with the Public Banking Institute to free the credit potential of public revenues and harness this public wealth to create sustainable, abundant and affordable credit which can allow for more vibrant, self sustaining local communities.

The Tetra: An Organizational Design to Foster Group Wisdom

The preeminent biologist E. O. Wilson wrote, “We have created a Star Wars civilization, with Stone Age emotions, medieval institutions, and god-like technology…We are terribly confused by the mere fact of our existence and a danger to ourselves and to the rest of life.” This presentation will propose that Bucky’s tetrahedron when applied to organizational structure can tame our Stone Age emotions, open up new creative horizons and become a dynamic, participative organizational structure more suitable to the hyper-connected complexities of the 21st century.


Newsome, Thomas

I have a law degree from the U. of Michigan, and a Ph.D. from the U. of North Carolina. My dissertation is on African American jazz musicians in Chicago in the mid 20th century; the musicians helped me to see the geometric side of things. Currently, I run a non-profit organization with my mother, called MASS (model alternative school services); my role is teaching classes, giving talks, tutoring, writing articles, etc. about subjects that I think are important, even though they are mostly ignored by schools.

Fuller and the Egyptian Tree of Life  

Synergetic Geometry and the ancient Egyptian Tree of Life are two of these subjects, and in this presentation I’m going to try to give an overview of the Tree and then show its similarities with Synergetics. Much of this is going to be on a purely geometrical level, but i also intend to work in some metaphysical comparisons between Fuller’s work and the Tree of Life teachings, as I understand them. If all goes well, this will shed some light onto the Tree, while showing that Fuller’s Synergetics had historical antecedents. I intend to provide concrete examples of how people can use the Tree, or Fuller’s Synergetics, as a guiding force in their own lives.


Peifer, David

David Peifer is the Chair of Mathematics at UNC Asheville. He is interested in art, science, and education. David’s research interests include studying the mathematics and history of Max Dehn, a faculty from BMC.

The Sciences at Black Mountain College

Black Mountain College is known for the great artists who taught and studied there. However, the college also had important connections to great scientists of the time. This talk will give short biographies of some the science faculty who taught at BMC.


Poole-Frank, Tommy with Andrew Frank

Tommy Poole-Frank is a performance artist, music producer, and ecstatic dance workshop leader. His background includes work and education in fields ranging from the film industry to professional choir to computer science. Originally, he is from Portland, Oregon, but currently lives in Asheville, North Carolina.


Pope, Ted

Ted Pope is the author of the book Redlipstick. A book that examines our origins in the Sirius Star System and how Humans are coping or not coping with life on Terra. His book Waiting for Charlie Brown (Co-authored w/ Tim Peeler) is described by Michael Rumaker as “writing full of the brutal surprise of fear, and the unbridled hatred rooted in it, American to it’s core.” Ted Pope currently works scrubbing beans and rice out of pots and pans of varying widths and depths at a burrito restaurant.

A Brief History of Bowls

Upon reading that the conference was to focus on Domes I thought back to a manuscript I had read by the Philosopher-Mystic Hermes Trismegistus translated by Sir Isaac Newton. In it Hermes states: “Tis true without lying, certain most true; that which is below is like that which is above, that which is above is like that which is below, to do the miracles of one only thing.” I thought it may indeed be useful and dare I say fun to look at the mirror image of the Dome. To turn it over and see the Bowl. Further I thought what can I carry in this Bowl? For Bowls lend themselves quite perfectly to the storage of things. As my first idea had been a paper on the subject of Projective Verse I thought perhaps I could make my Brief History of Projective Verse briefer still than my Brief History of Bowls and thus one would fit nicely inside of the other. And so I hope to present as stated a Brief History of Bowls with a Brief History of Projective Verse inside.


Pronchuk, Myrna

Originally from Canada, Myrna spent 13 years immersed in Nashville’s music scene and obtained her MFA in Drawing and Painting from Georgia State University. She is an interdisciplinary artist that scavenges for found objects and materials to be repurposed into hybrid musical sculptures. Sounds of the finished product are then integrated into Digital Signal Processing. Following the inspiration of John Cage, she utilizes mark making to map out systems of direction towards hybrid musical notation. In producing mechanical musical instruments, along with mark making, installation and experimental sound recordings, a platform is established allowing for a dialogue to occur between audio and visual elements, and human experience. A sample of her work can be found on

Aural ReGeneration

With the spirit of Bucky Fuller as a multi-disciplined artist and the concept of the computer being a human-extention, Myrna is interested in creating a performance of instrumentation integration with Digital Signal Processing. In the tradition of futurist, Buckminster Fuller, she is interested in the prescience result from applying associative reasoning to the serendipitous conjunction of insights gained from a widely interdisciplinary professional practice.


Przybilla, Kurt

Kurt Przybilla is an inventor, educator, writer and producer. He invented Tetra Tops®, the world’s first spinning top with more than one axis of spin which have been featured in the New York Times, Popular Science, Baby Einstein, Child and Discover Magazine, as well as at the Smithsonian Institute. He is the co-creator, writer and producer of the Molecularium Project for which he has co-written and produced Molecules to the MAX!, a 3D animated feature for IMAX theaters, Molecularium – Riding Snowflakes, an award winning digital dome planetarium show and NanoSpace, a new online theme park that teach by taking audiences in to the nanoscale world of atoms and molecules. In 2005, he co-founded the Bamboo Institute to develop innovative ways to utilize bamboo’s potential to help solve a wide range of problems facing our planet.

Large Bamboo Dome Demo Model & Hands-On Introduction to Synergetics 101

On this activity-based guided tour, you will learn the fundamental principles of Bucky’s energetic geometry and thinking, including synergy, modelability and the primary structural systems of Universe through demonstration and “hands-on” building. Also there will be activities directly linked to the Bamboo Dome structure including hands-on building of Bamboo Tripod, bamboo lashing, etc.

Bucky’s Comprehensive Universe: Synergetics in Principle and Practice

From expounding on his comprehensive concept of Universe to explaining why atoms bond the ways they do to encouraging the world to design for 100% of humanity, Bucky devoted his life to uncovering, exploring, teaching and applying the synergetic principles employed by nature to build everything. This guided multi-media tour will introduce key concepts of Synergetics and explore some practical applications of core principles through generalized and special case examples from the past, present and potential futures.


Riddell, Ian

Ian Riddell, Founder of Tek-Kids, an educational services company here in Asheville that provides hands-on, interactive workshops in science, math and technology. Ian’s innovative approach to teaching earned him a spot on an educational delegation that traveled to Morocco in 2009. He is also the founder of the Asheville Computer Programming Club.

Hands-on Geometry with ZOMETOOLS

The Zome System is an intuitive way to explore some very advanced ideas in 3D (and 4D) geometry. Marketed primarily to young people, this is a very serious toy. Come by and find out just how quickly you can learn to make something complex and beautiful.


Rosen-Queralt, Jann

Jann Rosen-Queralt creates artwork integrating the diverse fabric of urban areas, revealing the character of each locale by maintaining environmental sensitivity, and the poetry of voice. She is interested in exchanging ideas, becoming a catalyst for encouraging discovery and expanding our capacity to remember and learn. Rosen-Queralt’s studio practice focuses on public art and exhibiting nationally and internationally in places such as Canada, Mexico, and Lithuania. She teaches graduate courses in community art and undergraduate courses in interdisciplinary sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Additionally, since 2009, she serves on the Board of the Baltimore Public Art Commission.

Art Integrated Social Spaces for Infrastructure Projects: Brightwater, an extraordinary union of art, design, science, ecology, and community

The presentation will elaborate on the significant role artists can play in the design of our cities through the integration of art and artistic methodology in infrastructure projects. An example is the Brightwater Wastewater treatment plant in Snohomish County Washington where artists influenced the $1.77 billion dollar project design. Images will provide insight into the ways public artwork in infrastructure adds aesthetic enrichment, plays a meaningful role in environmental education strategies, and adds value to our lives, our city, and our regions.


Roybal, JenJoy

JenJoy managed the Buckminster Fuller Challenge at the Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI) in Brooklyn (NY) for several years. She is a graduate of the groundbreaking Urban Design Program at CUNY headed by Michael Sorkin. Prior to BFI, JenJoy worked for the City of San Jose implementing public art for capital improvement projects (CIP), and in Santa Fe, NM for a design/build company utilizing indigenous and sustainable practices for housing development. JenJoy is also a painter and video artist with a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago.

Bucky in Bushwick: Actualizing Black Mountain College in the age of Occupy

Occupational Art School is a one-stop shop for integrating art practice and a sustainable lifestyle in such a way that is regenerative – an artist centric enterprise with a strong educational component provided by its members/participants. The approach to the project is highly influenced by entries to the Buckminster Fuller Challenge which include Plant Chicago, Brooklyn Farm Yards, Operation Paydirt and Santa Fe Innovation Park. Other influencing projects include Bruce High Quality, eyebeam and 3rd Ward. Courses started in August 2012.


Seidenshaw, Blake with Chris Moffett

Blake is attempting to set a troubled youth, an anachronistically humanistic education, and a decade of Ashtanga Yoga practice into play around an imminently emerging doctoral dissertation. He eats vegetables and makes pottery, and sometimes plays music between reading and writing projects. For the past three years he has edited the interdisciplinary online journal ecogradients, in which the problematic status of education is raised stubbornly, despite and indeed in direct response to the prevailing atmosphere of congeniality towards potential sources of funding. Blake is a lifelong student of Bucky Fuller, and is delighted to attend a conference devoted to his work and legacy.


Silver, David

David Silver is an associate professor of media studies, environmental studies, and urban agriculture at the University of San Francisco. He is currently on sabbatical, working on a book-length project on the farm at Black Mountain College.

The Farm at Black Mountain College

This talk presents the history of the farm at Black Mountain College. In particular, it traces the farm’s physical existence (from Blue Ridge to Lake Eden), its personnel (including farmers and farm managers Roscoe “Ross” Penley, Mary “Molly” Gregory, Ray Trayer, Clifford Moles, and Doyle Jones), its buildings and structures (including a barn, two silos, milk house, hog house, and tobacco barn – all designed and built by students, staff, and faculty), and its produce, crops, and livestock, grown and raised for both college consumption and much needed income. Along the way, I will reveal the farm’s vital role to BMC’s work program and the college’s goal to be self-sustaining. Throughout the talk, I will present photographs of the farm and farm activities gleaned from Black Mountain College Collection, now housed in the Western Regional Archives in Asheville.


Sloan, Mark

Mark Sloan has been the Director and Senior Curator of the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston since 1994. Pulse Dome Project: Art & Design by Don ZanFagna will be on view at the Halsey Institute October 19-December 8, 2012. Sloan is an artist, author, curator, and educator. He has authored (or coauthored) ten books on subjects ranging from early twentieth century circus life to Russian conceptual art.

Pulse Dome Project: Art & Design by Don ZanFagna

Don ZanFagna is an artist, architect, and designer whose lifework both defies established categories and challenges rote notions of the role of the artist in society. Through a remarkable journey of discovery, chronicled in dozens of densely illustrated and annotated sketchbooks, ZanFagna became obsessed with the idea of designing a form of sustainable architecture that was in harmony with natural processes—a structure he called the Pulse Dome. From roughly 1971 through 1995, he researched world indigenous architectures, insect architecture, wombs, and such natural forms as caves, tunnels, and volcanoes, along with other structures, to learn what had been done already and what was still likely to be accomplished by others in relation to sustainable human architecture. The writings of Buckminster Fuller were a central source of inspiration for this ambitious investigation, and the two men corresponded.


South, Heather

Heather South self-proclaimed Purple Princess and History Geek, fell in love with archives during an internship at Winthrop University and has been working with historical documents ever since.   Heather has a BA and MA in history from Winthrop and is a Certified Archivist. South has more than 14 years experience in preservation and archives including reference services, conservation services, exhibit design, marketing and grant management. From 2006 until November 2011 she worked as the Preservation Officer for the SC State Archives, served as newsletter editor to the SC Archival Association, treasurer for the Palmetto Archives Libraries and Museum Council on Preservation, was a charter member in both organizations and named SC Archivist of the Year in 2010.  

Western Regional Archives: History with a View

Archivist Heather South will showcase the multiple Black Mountain College Collections just moved to Asheville as part of the Western Regional Archives. From bucking tradition to Buckminster Fuller, the documents, letters, photos, and other ephemera offer a detailed glimpse into the wonders of Black Mountain College.


Towers, Elizabeth

Elizabeth Towers, MA Art History, Independent Scholar, has been interested in the arts of Black Mountain College for over 20 years. She developed and taught the course: Black Mountain College: An Experiment in the Arts at UC Santa Cruz (2000-2004) and during her one-year appointment at UNC Asheville (2006-2007). Her teaching career also includes Marymount University, Arlington, VA, San Jose City College and Evergreen Valley College, San Jose, CA. Currently, Elizabeth lives and works in education in Santa Fe.

From the Whole to the Part: A Fuller Community

Black Mountain College was just the sort of community where Buckminster Fuller’s “comprehensivist”—the philosopher-scientist-artist—could be and was fostered. From its inception in the progressive movement of the 1930s, John Dewey’s ideas on the role of the community and the art-experience in education served as pedagogical underpinnings for the college’s commitment to the development of the whole student-global-citizen. The arts were integral to the curriculum and life of the college, which resonated with Fuller’s belief in the artist’s “extraordinarily important” role in society. A part of Fuller’s legacy, beyond the erection of the first geodesic dome at Black Mountain College, is the interplay of his prophetic ideas with Dewey’s philosophy of education and the community of Black Mountain, and the import of this discussion in the contemporary crisis in education.


Vagt, Christina

Christina Vagt is a German media and cultural theorist and an assistant professor of literature at Technische Universität Berlin (Berlin Institute of Technology). She is interested in the relationships between the sciences and the humanities, especially the role of media and technology design. She is currently visiting fellow at the Department of Comparative Literature at Stanford University.

Media Actors: Cosmology and Globalization by Richard Buckminster Fuller

Richard Buckminster Fuller realized the universal impact of global transactions long before most others, and when he published Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth in 1969, the title was meant to be literal. The world had to be treated like a ship in order to understand its divergent economical, political, ecological and social (dys-)functions and to navigate its further course. Focusing on Fuller’s visions of computer based communication, the talk will situate his synergetic cosmology within a broader transatlantic discourse.


Ward, Terry

As a technical educator and electrical engineer, I have been fascinated by the concepts of mathematics and sacred geometry for many years. I have held workshops in basic and intermediate sacred geometry in the Asheville area with very positive response. I look forward to sharing these fascinating and universal ideas with those of any age who are open to the wonder of exploring the world of shapes and numbers.

Sacred Geometry Drawing: A Hands-On Approach to Discovering the World Around You

We will be using pencil, compass, and straightedge to draw shapes that reflect the world of nature and everyday objects. Not a drawing class–no artistic background needed–not a math class! Just an opportunity to explore and create beautiful shapes and patterns using simple, easy to follow methods. Come and have fun!


Weaver, Jane

Due to a strong case of congenital curiosity, Jane became a student and then a teacher of Sacred Geometry, Drafting, and Projective Geometry in order to answer some of life’s compelling questions. She is also an outstanding quilt artist and versatile, multi-talented musician to indulge her creative desires. Interestingly, Projective Geometry satisfies both those avenues of inquiry.

Projective Geometry Drawing: Encounter with the Infinite

This workshop provides an opportunity to get a preview and some hands-on experience of the “grandmother” and foundational umbrella of all geometries, Projective Geometry. Rudolf Steiner suggested in the early 20th century, when the tenets and discoveries of Projective Geometry were formalized and completed, that it was a likely explanation for how the physical manifests from the etheric. Nowadays Projective (Synthetic) Geometry is the method behind computer graphics, but in its larger context it enfolds meaningful art with beautiful science – no small accomplishment.


Weston, Anthony

Anthony Weston teaches Philosophy and Environmental Studies at Elon University in North Carolina. His current work centers on the ethical and cultural dimensions of the environmental crisis, very broadly conceived, and on our reconstructive and imaginative resources for more promising responses. He is author of twelve books, including How to Re-Imagine the World (2007) and Mobilizing the Green Imagination: An Exuberant Manifesto (2012), both with New Society Publishers.


WWBD? (What Would Bucky Do?)

In this presentation/workshop we honor the radically inventive spirit of Buckminster Fuller by taking on the same spirit ourselves. We begin by recalling some of Fuller’s key design concepts, augmenting and re-articulating them in a contemporary frame. We then apply our Bucky-esque toolbox to some contemporary challenges, beginning with some addressed by Fuller himself and by recent entries for the Buckminster Fuller Institute Challenge, and then, on our own, some other and quite different types of problems.


Wood, Abigail

All at Once: The Geodesic Relationship between Kurt Vonnegut and His Audience

This project involves the exploration of the influence of Buckminster Fuller on the writing of Kurt Vonnegut. I aim to acquaint the uninitiated to the many allusions to Fuller’s work, including recurring geodesic domes in several works, including Slaughterhouse-Five, as well as the principles of dynamic tension as a foundation of an occult religious practice in Cat’s Cradle, and to use this to show that Vonnegut draws heavily on Fuller’s work to manufacture an original theory of the ideal relationship between artist and audience. I also investigate the influence of Guy Murchie’s theories on the circular nature of time on Vonnegut’s writing to further explore his conception of an aesthetic ideal.