This video is to accompany the exhibition Pulse Dome Project: Art & Design by Don ZanFagna. It presents paintings, drawings, sketchbooks, and a 3-D model by Don ZanFagna that explicate the futuristic and metaphoric concept of “growing” your own house. Conceived in the 1970s, he imagined a home created, constructed, and maintained by all-organic processes and in perfect harmony with nature. ZanFagna is an artist, architect, and designer whose lifework not only defies established categories, but challenges rote notions of the role of the artist in society. The advent of this exhibition has uncovered a vast trove of related writings, drawings, photographs, artworks, collages, models, and ephemera that the artist created over his long work life.
ZanFagna traveled the world researching standing stones, Mayan ziggurats, and various ecological systems, always in pursuit of underlying intrinsic structural concepts that might be adapted by humans to create habitats informed by these “invisible” or unknown processes. He pored over books, manuscripts, proceedings of conferences, and investigations detailed by Nature, NASA, and the popular press as he sought to uncover anything that might illuminate some aspect of his quarry on the art-human-ecology-technology continuum.
ZanFagna proved to be a restless innovator and inventor. His notebooks, journals, and early works overflow with remarkably prescient descriptions of such things as the development of the personal computer and the Kindle—“all the world’s books in the palm of your hand”—in an exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, in 1971. He also anticipated large-scale use of solar panel technologies and the use of biological processes, algae and ethanol, to generate energy.
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