[artinfo] Buckminster Fuller's World Game

Art&Education edu-news at mailer.e-flux.com
Mon Nov 9 15:27:48 CET 2015

Information Fall-Out: Buckminster Fuller's World Game,

an exhibition at Columbia University's Graduate 
School of Architecture Planning and Preservation.

Initially proposed for Expo 67 in Montréal, 
Buckminster Fuller's World Game was played for 
the first time in 1969 at the New York Studio 
School for Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture. Over 
the next decade, the World Game evolved and 
expanded through workshops, seminars, strategy 
papers, and building designs. Across its 
different manifestations, the World Game remained 
focused on the goals of overcoming energy 
scarcity and altering conventional territorial 
politics through the redistribution of world 
resources. This anti-Malthusian, anti-war game 
was meant to discover conditions for perpetual 
ecological peace and to usher in a new era of 
total global resource consciousness. Mirroring 
Cold War command and control infrastructures, 
proposals for World Game centers described a vast 
computerized network that could process, map, and 
visualize environmental information drawn from, 
among other sources, Russian and American spy 
satellites. Fuller claimed that their optical 
sensors and thermographic scanners could detect 
the location and quantity of water, grain, 
metals, livestock, human populations, or any 
other conceivable form of energy. Among Fuller's 
abiding obsessions was the limited range of the 
electromagnetic spectrum available to human 
vision. Fuller argued that the World Game would 
serve as a corrective to this limitation by 
rendering visible global environmental data 
patterns that evaded normal perception.

Assembling documents related to various 
iterations of the World Game conceived, proposed, 
and played from 1964 to 1982 along with materials 
from the World Resources Inventory, the 
exhibition examines the World Game as an 
experimental pedagogical project, as a system for 
environmental information, and as a process of 
resource administration. A related symposium will 
bring together scholars and architects with 
Fuller partners and collaborators to speak about 
the World Game in relation to its ecological, 
informational vision, and to the current stakes 
for environmental data and its representation. 

The exhibition is curated and designed by Mark 
Wasiuta, Director of Exhibitions and Co-Director 
of the Critical, Curatorial, and Conceptual 
Practices in Architecture Program, and Adam 
Bandler, Exhibitions Coordinator at Columbia 
GSAPP. Florencia Alvarez Pacheco is assistant 

For more information, please send an email to 
<mailto:exhibitions at arch.columbia.edu>exhibitions at arch.columbia.edu.

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