Fuller Future Fest cultivates important issues


By Jacob Pierce| JacobPierce1_DE, Daily Egyptian

Art, for aesthetic or functional purposes, comes in all shapes and sizes. For Buckminster Fuller, the geodesic shape meant the most.

The 4th annual Fuller Future Fest, themed Buckminster and the Sacred Geometry of Nature, is calling for pieces of two, three and four-dimensional work until Feb. 27.

Fuller, who died at the age of 88 in 1983, held 26 patents and wrote nearly 30 books. Besides being an inventor and innovator of many items, Fuller was also a professor who taught at the university from the 1950s through the 1970s and kept a relationship with the college until his death.


Brent Ritzel, a graduate student in public administration from Carbondale, said he created the festival with Beth Martel, staff sponsor of the festival and the Buckminster Fuller Future Organization, and Janet Donoghue, a former employee of the Buckminster Fuller Dome Home, to promote Fuller’s ideas.

He said Fuller is a historical asset to the world, but especially to Carbondale.

“This was Bucky’s home and he is ours,” Ritzel said. “A lot of people relocate here and live here now precisely because he was here.”

Ritzel said Carbondale needs to promote and exploit Fuller, as he was one of the first pionstaff sponsor of the festival and the Buckminster Fuller Future Organization, said the show will be used as a platform to spread Fuller’s original concepts.

“We are trying to get artists excited about taking his ideas to the next level,” Martel said. “Creatively just giving us visions of what else we can do.”

She said geodesic domes, which are made with few but natural materials, will be one of the festival’s main topics. Martel said Fuller’s innovative ideas can help fix many of today’s sustainability issues.

“It makes sense to look backward towards history before we move forward,” she said.  

Martel said they are seeking artisans’ and musicians’ perspectives rather than architects’ and engineers’ because of their ability to reimagine ideas.

“We like to ask the hard questions,” she said. “We like to get people to think. We like to be edgy.”

MJ Smerken, who has submitted work each year, said her piece is an acrylic painting on canvas based on Metatron’s Cube, a geometric figure composed of 13 equal circles with a line from the center of each circle extending out to the center of the 12 other circles.

She said before attending the festivals, she did not know much about Fuller’s work other than the Buckminster Fuller Dome Home in Carbondale.

“It gives people a hands-on opportunity to try and express how Bucky has influenced them,” Smerken said. “To explain his ideas in an easier manner to understand.”

The art will be displayed  at Morris Library, the Student Center and at the Carbondale Civic Center in March and April. The festival will also have a closing keynote speech by Matt Schultz, a multi-media artist, at 7:30 p.m.  April 24 in Guyon Auditorium.