Workshops centered around teachings of Buckminster Fuller come to Arts Center

Special to Black Mountain News
Mark Hanf will lead two workshops centered around the teachings of Buckminster Fuller, at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts this month. Our Living Spaceship, will be held on Sept. 8 and Geodesic Domes - Exploring the Geometry of Structure will take place on Sept. 15.

A smattering of presentations centering around the teachings of Buckminster Fuller will continue with two fascinating workshops taught by Mark Hanf, which will coincide with this weekend’s production of R. Buckminster Fuller: the History and Mystery of the Universe.

“We are so excited to have these two workshops, a gallery show and a theatrical production all focused on Buckminster Fuller,” said Lori Cozzi, new executive director of the Black Mountain Center for the Arts. “The legacy of the Black Mountain College, and Fuller’s place in history, translate to active learning today. His work still resonates and is informing scientists, mathematicians, philosophers and creative thinkers in our present day. And as the stage production, gallery show and workshops will prove, Buckminster Fuller’s groundbreaking ideas are accessible to anyone.”

Hanf is a mathematician, artist and teacher who has been associated with Fuller's concepts and teachings for years. In 1995, he was nominated to attend the NC Governor’s School in both Art and Mathematics where he studied Fractal and Non-Euclidean Geometry. 

Hanf received a Bachelor's in Visual Arts from Davidson College in 2000, exploring both two- and three-dimensional forms through acrylic painting, glass and wood. In 2006, he was a participant in the Design Science Lab in Asheville, a ten-day international think-tank sponsored by The Buckminster Fuller Institute and the United Nations.

Since 2001, Hanf has taught in the classroom, facilitated workshops and lead teacher trainings around the country at schools, conferences, universities and museums. He is on the faculty of the Academy of Sacred Geometry along with some of the world’s leading teachers in the field. Hanf is also a professional artist and creates work that explores Nature’s architecture and symmetry.

On Sunday, Sept. 8, from 3:30 - 5 p.m., Hanf presents Our Living Spaceship, a fun, team-based learning experience on a Dymaxion floor map. The Dymaxion Map, also known as the Fuller Projection, contains less overall distortion of the sizes and shapes of continents than any map currently in use.

Fuller’s unique geometric projection also shows that all of the land masses on Earth are basically connected as one island in one ocean. This interconnected world view allows participants to explore an interdisciplinary approach to earth science, geometry, and geography as they graph the population of the Earth and access to key resources like water.

From 2006-2012, Hanf was part of a team that created Our Living Spaceship, a special project of the Buckminster Fuller Institute that integrated global geography, Earth science, geometry, and service learning.

On Sunday, September 15 from 3:30 - 5 p.m., Hanf’s topic is Geodesic Domes - Exploring the Geometry of Structure. Geometry literally means “earth measurement” and this fun, hands-on workshop will investigate the geometric principles that are the building blocks of nature itself.

Using a variety of 3D modeling tools, participants will construct and explore the tetrahedron, octahedron and icosahedron, three forms studied since antiquity by geometers such as Plato and Leonardo and essential to Fuller’s synergetic geometry and geodesic architecture. 

The workshops are $11 for children and $22 for adults. All materials will be provided. Reservations are required and can be made by calling the Arts Center.

The Upper Gallery will feature photos and artifacts associated with Fuller. The items are on loan from the Black Mountain College Museum and Art Center, as well as informational panels about the college and a hands-on exhibit courtesy of Hanf.

R. Buckminster Fuller will be brought to life by performer David Novak, Sept. 6 - 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts in a production of R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) Of The Universe by D. W. Jacobs from the life, work and writings of R. Fuller.

General admission tickets to the show are $20. Student rate is $10 with valid identification. Sunday evening’s performance will include a talk-back with actor Novak and writer/director Jacobs after the show.

A special student show will be presented on Friday, Sept. 6 at 10 a.m. for only $5. Seating is limited for this performance so make sure to call ahead to reserve a seat.

The Black Mountain Center for the Arts is located at 225 West State Street. To purchase a ticket or more information call 669-0930 or go to blackmountainarts.org.