Utopian Impulse examines Fuller's (sometimes literal) presence in many seminal movements and experiments from the 1970s, including those of the avant-garde architecture collective, Ant Farm . Ant Farm's proposal for a domed city, called "Convention City 1976," is one particularly striking example on display, among others: in the form of models, videos, and photographs we see a media-centric public arena in a city built for 20,000 inhabitants (most of them "actors" clued into the roles demanded of their turned-on and on-view center of activity). A clever and even eerie foreshadowing of the way we live now, the domed city is as relevant to say, Times Square, as to the more general "small town", in which every inhabitant watches the same nightly newscast and simultaneously casts a vote for his favorite contestant on Dancing With The Stars or Eurovision . Given the show's context, Convention City is an excellent demonstration of a work that cooks in the same juices as Fuller's, but comes out of the skillet free of any derivation, an independent and original product of its time and dialog.
Also on prominent view in Utopian Impulse is the Oval Intention Tent (1976) by The North Face, the outdoor-gear company established in the Bay Area in 1966. The tent is, in no mistakable terms, a realized geodesic dome, a forward march away from the "A-Frame" tent of decades past. The OI is, in practice, "tensegrity" — a Fullerism that combines tension with integrity; it is a physical structure made of metaphysical "big ideas." And on view alongside the tent, is a 9-minute video clip of Fuller's visit to The North Face in 1981.
That Fuller's own projects remain for us to see in an "unrealized" state, really, gratefully, means that they remain for us in an uncompromised state: unedited by commercial, social, even practical realities and demands