Killing Your Babies

I’m still deep in the editing phase of “Buckminster Fuller and the Bay Area: A Relationship in 14 Fragments (inspired by the Dymaxion Chronofile),” the video installation I’m creating at SFMOMA. The show opens on March 29th, so the clock is ticking!

The video’s structure––a series of modular vignettes––is modeled on Fuller’s personal archive, the Dymaxion Chronofile. What sets the piece apart from my past work is that it involves so many different images––the multi-channel-ness of it is new to me, but also just really complex. It’s extremely difficult both from a technical perspective (I’m working with some great After Effects folks to make it happen) but also from an aesthetic one; there’s a big design component to this. Here are a couple early tests that we did, just to see how different layouts will look when projected on the installation:

One of the hardest things about any film project is eventually having to cut little details or pieces of footage that you’ve fallen in love with. Someone once referred to this part of the process as “killing your babies,” and it’s true.  In this case, something that broke my heart recently was having to cut a little section about Buckminster Fuller getting an honorary degree from the California College of Arts and Crafts (now known as CCA) in 1966. Also getting an honorary degree that day was… Duke Ellington! And CCA had a bunch of photos in their archive. Buckminster Fuller and Duke Ellington––can you imagine what they talked about?!! I even found a (slightly muddy) audio recording of Fuller’s talk that day. Wow. I loved this little moment, but alas, it just didn’t fit in the overall flow of the piece and it ended up on the cutting room floor. I guess that’s one of the good things about blogs: something like this that used to languish in obscurity can now make it’s way into the world… or at least onto the Internet.