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The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller Sam Green & Yo La Tengo
“Each performance of Mr. Green’s live documentaries is a singular experience, and a collective one.” —The New York Times
The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller is an hour-long “live documentary” from Academy Award–nominated filmmaker Sam Green exploring Fuller’s utopian vision of radical social change through a design revolution. Originally commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Design and Architecture Department, the project is a collaboration between Green and the legendary indie band Yo La Tengo. At each screening, Green narrates the film in person and cues images while Yo La Tengo performs their original score. The film’s unique form draws inspiration equally from old travelogues, the Benshi tradition, and TEDtalks.
Buckminster Fuller was a grandiose and generous thinker, teeming with ideas. He once put together a lecture series called “Everything I Know”—it was forty-two hours long. No notes. He was an early proponent of conservation and environmental stewardship as social justice; Fuller was interested in “doing more with less,” so that everybody could have enough. He redesigned human structures from cars and bathrooms all the way up to entire cities, inspiring figures as diverse as the industrialist Henry Kaiser, John Cage, and Stewart Brand. The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller explores this vision by looking at many of his concepts and projects, ranging from his signature invention, the Geodesic dome, to some of his more conceptual plans, including a proposal to build a huge dome over Midtown Manhattan to cut down on snow removal costs. Fuller’s projects were a collision between rational thinking and utopian idealism, made rich and complicated by the background noise of his cultural connections and tireless optimism.
Sam Green is a New York-based documentary filmmaker. He received his Master’s Degree in Journalism from University of California, Berkeley, where he studied documentary filmmaking with the acclaimed filmmaker Marlon Riggs. Green’s most recent projects are the “live documentaries” The Measure of All Things (2014), The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller with Yo La Tengo (2012), and Utopia in Four Movements (2010). His performance work has screened at venues such as the Barbican, The Kitchen, TBA Festival, Fusebox Festival, Brighton Festival, and many others. Green’s 2004 feature-length film, the Academy Award–nominated documentary The Weather Underground, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was broadcast on PBS, was included in the 2004 Whitney Biennial, and has screened widely around the world.
Yo La TengoA seminal indie band formed in 1984 by husband-and-wife duo Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley (incidentally, Hubley’s parents were the Oscar-winning independent animators Faith and John Hubley and her sister is the animator Emily Hubley). The band has released more than a dozen full- length albums and composed soundtracks for a number of films, including Old Joy and Shortbus, as well as their own The Sounds of Science, a live soundtrack to a program of films by Jean Painlevé.