How to Save a Biosphere?
This is the sequence of my artistic interventions about the safeguard of the Montreal geodesic dome, later named Biosphere, created and built by Buckminster Fuller and Shoji Sadao for Expo 67. Here are the main (dominant) lines of my involvement that lasted 10 years and more, from 1983 to 1993.
During this decade-long period, I would go to the Biosphere regularly, camera in hand, to take note of the abandonment, deterioration and vandalism. In other words, documenting the slow death of this unique landmark.
During this period the site also became my creative studio. From the very beginning of my interventions, I am in regular contact with Fuller’s closest collaborators, associates and family members. Allegra Fuller Snyder, Fuller’s daughter, was constantly encouraging me to continue my artistic and documentary actions in Montreal and elsewhere, in order to make Fuller’s major landmark structures better known.
Initial photo documentation of the interior and exterior of the geodesic dome and the collecting of various objects found on the site.
Production of a video interview (transcript), combined with a visit to the site, with Shoji Sadao, principal architect of the Biosphere with Fuller. The video was made possible by a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.
Exhibition: “The Dome Project, Exploring a Remnant of the Modernist Era,” Galerie P.R.I.M., Montreal. A multimedia installation, incorporating found objects, large format rubbings, photographs and the presentation of the video interview with Shoji Sadao. See The Dome Project.
Exhibition: “Synergetic Pressure Prints,” Concordia University Art Gallery, Montreal. A body of work based on Fuller’s theories in synergetic geometry. See Synergetic Pressure Prints.
Artistic action: exhibition and occupation of the Montreal Biosphere for two weeks with an installation of large size paintings describing the origins of this architectural monument. See Large Paintings.
Dome trip in North America to locate and document the other large-scale structures of Fuller. The goal is to update their state of being and to rediscover the origins of the Montreal Biosphere. See Other Domes by Buckminster Fuller.
Cleaning and painting of the geodesic membrane of the Biosphere. This is the first concrete “gesture” in more than 20 years that the City of Montreal has taken to protect the structure. The City also invites Canadian architects to present feasibility projects regarding the transformation of the place into an environmental museum.
Demolition of the lower-level platforms, floors, office spaces and structures inside the Biosphere.
Travel to Kansas to make a visual record of the slow and methodical deconstruction (piece by piece) of the Dymaxion house (or Dymaxion Dwelling Machine, 1945–46). It has finally found a new home at the Ford Museum and will be rebuilt on the museum’s site in Dearborn, Michigan. See Dymaxion Dwelling Machine.
Exhibition: “Buckminster Fullers’ Dymaxion Dwelling Machine,” Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, Kansas. Multimedia installation of objects, photos and videos.
Photo documentation of the reconstruction of the platforms and the new exhibition spaces of the Biosphere.
Meeting and portrait session with Kiyoshi Kuromiya, co-author with Fuller of Cosmography: A Posthumous Scenario for the Future of Humanity.➔