Bucky in Bali

Buckminster Fuller had intended to make his first visit to Bali in 1970 in the company of Rosa Covarrubias, an American artist that was once married to Mexican painter and ethnologist Miguel Covarrubias, but had to opt in favour of giving the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial lecture in India – also because he learned that Rosa Covarrubias had died. As he eventually was going to Bali in 1974, his friend Lim Chong Keat asked him “how long are you there for?” He said “oh, just a day. You know, first day Bali, next day New York, that kind of thing.” Lim Chong Keat and Bucky went to Bali together and stayed only for a day.

In Bali, the village friends from Penestanan captivated him and he enthusiastically taught them tensegrity structures, as an extension of the three-way weave already inherent in their basketry. He was deeply struck by the ingenious civilisation of Bali that exemplifies natural cooperation. A temple at Campuan made a special mystical impact on him, standing at the confluence of two rivers, an inspiration for coming together – “so it came to pass, not to stay”.

In 1977, a series of gatherings called the Campuan Meetings were first initiated and convened by Bucky, Lim Chong Keat, and writer Austin Coastes in Campuan, and also in Sanur. Bucky later called the gatherings Campuan World Conferences, a gathering of luminaries involved with `synergetics’, the geometry of thinking, at which invitees came on their own volition, at their own expense, and in their personal capacity to share global or universal experiences.

The gatherings were held around Bucky’s 82nd birthday party where the Balinese surprise Bucky with a bamboo dome, dance and gamelan performances, blessings, and flowers.