On the fiftieth anniversary of R. Buckminster Fuller’s appointment as architect of U.S. Pavilion at Expo ’67 Montreal World’s Fair, I am releasing the bulk of a hitherto unpublished hourlong interview that was carried out with the late dancer-choreographer, Merce Cunningham, in his New York City dance studio, on November 22, 2004. The context for the filming of the interview was a research and exhibition project undertaken at the Stanford Humanities Lab in close collaboration with the Stanford University Libraries, entitled Buckminster Fuller, Polymath, that set out to “animate” the Fuller archive (acquired by Stanford in 2002). Integral to the project were two seminars (co-taught by Michael John Gorman and myself) built around the archive, a series of multimedia experiments, and an on-stage conversation series referred to as Conversations on the Life and Work of an Enigmatic Genius. The conversation series unfolded as follows:

Shoji Sadao (January 2002)
E.J. Applewhite (January 2002)
Thomas T.K. Zung (February 2002)
Stewart Brand (February 2002)
Allegra Fuller Snyder (January 2003)
Kenneth Snelson (February 2003)
Theodor Roszac (April 2003)
Norman Foster (October 2003)

I had the privilege of serving as host and interviewer on all of these occasions (except for the interview with Steward Brand, carried out by my Americanist colleague Joseph Corn). Information regarding the Fuller archive, including video footage of each of these interviews, is available on the SUL website.

… with one exception: the lengthy interview with Cunningham, held in New York City over a year later, that I am disseminating here for the first time.

Buckminister Fuller Conversation from metaLAB(at)Harvard on Vimeo.

I recently donated the full Cunningham interview (including the original Betamax archival tapes) to the Stanford University Libraries for inclusion in the R. Buckminster Fuller archives and web repository.

- August 31, 2016