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PRINT November 2008

SEAN KELLER

A Dymaxion Car, designed by R. Buckminster Fuller, in front of the US Capitol, Washington, DC, July 20, 1934. Photo: Corbis.

WE DON’T SAIL MUCH ANYMORE. This fact helps explain the particular distance that lies between our world and that of R. Buckminster Fuller. For, despite Fuller’s incessant, often prescient, projections of the future, and despite the fact that, speaking strictly chronologically, our present is that future, we live neither in Fuller’s world nor in any of the futures he imagined. Sailing, the essential reference of Fuller’s long, prolific career, is gone from our common experience. Instead of ocean liners we have airliners. And although Fuller was a pioneering frequent flier, he would never have found inspiration in the banal, maddening, cut-rate trial of air travel today. Where in sailing Fuller saw the face of a reliable, well-ordered, technological god that could carry humanity past the chaos of both raw nature and raw capitalism, we have in flying only the mundane devils of deicing

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