Watch an Animated Buckminster Fuller Tell Studs Terkel All About “the Geodesic Life”

Will human­i­ty ever pro­duce anoth­er mind quite like Buck­min­ster Fuller’s? It does­n’t seem to have done so thus far. Even in Fuller’s own time, peo­ple could­n’t quite believe the intel­lec­tu­al idio­syn­crasy of the inven­tor who came up with the geo­des­ic dome, the Dymax­ion Car, and much, much more. “Time and again,” he once said, “I am asked, ‘who else do you know who thinks the way you do, or does what you do?’ I find it very strange to have to answer, ‘I don’t know any­body else.’ It’s not because I think of myself as unique, but sim­ply because I did choose a very dif­fer­ent grand strat­e­gy.”

Fuller — or Bucky, his pre­ferred nick­name — says more about that grand strat­e­gy and the expe­ri­ences that led him to devel­op it in the inter­views, con­duct­ed by Studs Terkel in 1965 and 1970, from which that quote comes. You can hear it in the video above, which brings the mate­r­i­al to life by visu­al­iz­ing the ele­ments of Fuller’s life and ideas through the hand of ani­ma­tor Jen­nifer Yoo. The video recent­ly debuted as part of The Exper­i­menters, a three-episode series meant to ani­mate the words of thinkers like Fuller, Jane Goodall, and Richard Feyn­man, con­cen­trat­ing on “the inspi­ra­tions from each of their per­son­al lives that helped influ­ence their careers and earth-chang­ing dis­cov­er­ies.”

Fuller enthu­si­asts have always insist­ed that his ideas have only grown more rel­e­vant with time, but now that the ear­ly 21st cen­tu­ry has found us rethink­ing the way we live — how we do it and how we make spaces to do it in being per­haps Fuller’s most abid­ing obses­sion — his engage­ment with the con­cept of “con­tin­u­al­ly doing more with less” real­ly does sound smarter than ever. If you enjoy the patch of Buck­y’s uni­verse The Exper­i­menters expos­es, con­sid­er chas­ing these four min­utes of “Buck­min­ster Fuller on the Geo­des­ic Life” with 42 hours of his video lec­ture series Every­thing I Know. The man did­n’t just think dif­fer­ent­ly from the rest of us, after all — he also thought a lot more.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Bet­ter Liv­ing Through Buck­min­ster Fuller’s Utopi­an Designs: Revis­it the Dymax­ion Car, House, and Map

Every­thing I Know: 42 Hours of Buck­min­ster Fuller’s Vision­ary Lec­tures Free Online (1975)

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture as well as the video series The City in Cin­e­ma and writes essays on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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