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Art installation, virtual lecture to honor R. Buckminster Fuller

Art installation, virtual lecture to honor R. Buckminster Fuller

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Art installation in Bucky’s Haven

Ben Lowder, an artist from St. Louis, is putting a permanent art installation in Bucky’s Haven at SIU Carbondale's campus lake. Lowder is pictured giving a presentation to a University Honors class, The Nature of Sound, by MCMA professor Jay Needham.

CARBONDALE — An upcoming art exhibition and installation at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will herald the work of designer, scientist and architect R. Buckminster Fuller.

Artist and curator Benjamin Lowder will install an art exhibition at Bucky’s Haven on the SIU Carbondale campus this month and present a virtual lecture and discussion Oct. 28 as part of the Michael and Nancy Glassman Lecture Series.

Prior to the lecture, Lowder will be working on the installation “Temples of Little Egypt” at Bucky’s Haven, a geodesic dome near Campus Lake named after Fuller, who was also an SIU Carbondale professor.

The installation “highlights and builds on Fuller’s contributions to sustainability studies and an education that breaks walls in search of finding answers and solutions to our pressing problems,” said Elizabeth Donoghue, University Honors Program assistant director. The University Honors Program sponsors the Glassman lecture series.

The virtual lecture and discussion is set for 5 p.m. on Oct. 28. Preregistration is required by contacting University Honors at honors@siu.edu.

Installation will be permanent

The installation will become a permanent part of the dome and commemorates Fuller’s legacy at SIU as part of the university’s 150th anniversary celebration. The event, initially slated for March, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The project is supported by a 150th anniversary grant award as part of the celebration of SIU’s history.

The installation is highlighting the history and importance of the structure and Fuller’s legacy at SIU. The installation will include material about Fuller and images that relate to Fuller’s work, according to Donoghue.

The art installation and lecture “draw together sacred geometry, ancient wisdom traditions and the legacy of Buckminster Fuller into a holistic narrative to guide our collective trajectory toward an abundant and integrated future.”

Discovered Fuller’s legacy while at SIU

Lowder serves on the board of the Bucky Fuller Dome Home historic site in Carbondale — the house that Fuller lived in while teaching at SIU. Lowder attended SIU for a year before transferring to the University of Illinois and said, “At Southern Illinois University, I discovered the legacy of Buckminster Fuller, and at the University of Illinois, I was introduced to the field of semiotics, which are two of the main ingredients in my current art practice.”

Lowder is founder of Cherokee Street Gallery in St. Louis, and he is a creative consultant at the Center for Spirituality and Sustainability, housed in a Fuller-designed geodesic dome at SIU Edwardsville.

Noting Southern Illinois’ fertile flood plains, pyramid mound cities and “natural cathedrals of living stone created by time, flowing water and geomagnetism,” Lowder noted the “sacred geometry” within the region.

“It is this same organic geometry that informs Buckminster Fuller's geodesic dome structures, allowing them to be most efficient and beautiful,” he said.

SIU’s Recreational Sports & Services is collaborating in the event.

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