ARCHITECTURE: R.B. Fuller.

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Fuller's works" 1-DEC-1993 04:16:24.69
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Subj: Fuller and emergency shelters

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From: 4D Solutions <[email protected]>
Subject: Fuller and emergency shelters
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> Fuller's other writings and speeches from this period deliver (broadly) > the
same message: that domes, filled with power stations, hospitals,
> factories, etc., preassembled in the United States and airlifted to
> underdeveloped countries, would yield overnight industrialization and
> the reconstitution of these nations into American-style societies and
> economies. This vision is a far cry from the emergency shelters; it is
> also the one Fuller invested more in, and in which he was more
> interested. The domes weren't empty, either in a literal or political
> sense.

> Cheers,
> Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
> U.C. Berkeley

The fact remains, that in presenting US Marine readers with visions of made-in-t
he-USA living standards, to be spread around the globe to "make the world safe f
or democracy," Fuller is (1) replacing fantasies of ultimate killingry with visi
ons of livingry as the primary means to the desired end (victory for the USA) an
d (2) casting the problem as one of "detouring war" -- a goal shared by all side
s in the 'cool war' (thus common ground with the enemy is established).

I think it is Fuller's ultimate faith in the power of *artifacts* and visions fo
cusing on same, that allows him to work in ways that, from a political point of
view, are ideologically inconsistent. How can he sound like such a cold warrior
and still be the "gentle genius" of 1960s pop culture? I think we need to take
Fuller at his word here: he was radically *apolitical* and willing to propagan
dize livingry artifacts in whatever ways would speak to his primary audience, in
the this case the defense establishment.

I don't have a problem with these ideological position once I see the common thr
ead throughout: only be raising living standards globally can we detour war. Ob
viously a Third World (both inside and outside USA national boundaries) in const
ant need of emergency shelters cannot be the end for which we are striving. The
goal was to raise living standards -- and since the USA is not living at the sta
ndard Fuller envisioned either, it is not the case that his futurism was merely
a projection of contemporary USA living standards on the rest of the world. USA
people are living in squalor, in pathetic housing, under onerous and fearful co
nditions compared to where Fuller hoped we would be by this time.

-- Kirby
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