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  • Writer's pictureLelia

Buckminster Fuller and the Dymaxion Chronofile

Updated: Jul 22, 2020

Happy birthday to Buckminster Fuller, born July 12, 1895. He was a man of seemingly uninhibited uniqueness, to use a Jill Badonsky phrase.

  • He was known to talk for hours in what he called his "congenital comprehensivist's outpourings which, unchecked, often employ 300 word sentences." (Hayden Herrera, Listening to Stone; The Art and Life of Isamu Noguchi)

  • According to his friend, the artist and landscape architect Isamu Noguchi, Fuller thought "all our ills stemmed from an accumulation of bad habits and weighty possessions - and that the good things had to be distilled back to essences ... that's precisely what Bucky is after... what he's trying to do is nail down one fundamental truth." (Hayden Herrera, Listening to Stone; The Art and Life of Isamu Noguchi)

  • From 1915 until 1983, Fuller documented something going on in his life every fifteen minutes. "The result - later christened the Dymaxion Chronofile - was an enormous scrapbook that included correspondence, newspaper clippings, notes, and sketches and bills. By the end of his life, the file amounted to 270 linear feet of paper and is believed to be the most exhaustive record of one person's life." (Scrapbooks: An American History, Jessica Helfand)

My own "chronofile" (shown below) is a much less exhaustive record of 2020. Like the scrapbooks described by Jessica Helfand in her book Scrapbooks, my notebook is a "highly subjective, loopy compilation of personal matter." It brings me great joy to gather and paste into it articles and images that resonate with me. As Helfand says, "to keep a diary, journal, or scrapbook is one way to steel oneself against the inevitable tide of uncertainty that surges in the wake of any kind of tragedy."

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