101.01 Synergy means behavior of whole systems unpredicted by the behavior of their parts taken separately.

102.00 Synergy means behavior of integral, aggregate, whole systems unpredicted by behaviors of any of their components or subassemblies of their components taken separately from the whole.

-- R. Buckminster Fuller, Synergetics, 1975

SNEC: Synergeticists of the NorthEast Corridor Synergetics, in the broadest terms, is the study of spatial complexity, and as such is an inherently comprehensive discipline. ... Experience with synergetics encourages a new way of approaching and solving problems. Its emphasis on visual and spatial phenomena combined with Fuller's holistic approach fosters the kind of lateral thinking which so often leads to creative breakthroughs.

-- Amy Edmondson, A Fuller Explanation, 1987

SNEC Workshop on 24-25 July 2004 in Oswego, New York

Thank you to SUNY Oswego, Department of Technology, Design Studio for hosting this, the second annual, SNEC workshop!

Tensegrity Structures

24-25 July 2004, Oswego, New York

Photos from the Tensegrity Structures Workshop, Oswego, NY, 2004

Like last year, the SNEC Summer workshop was hosted in Oswego, NY with the wonderful surroundings of John Belt's classroom studio. We started off with an introduction and welcome on Saturday morning July 24th. Because our first speaker Thomas Zung was ill, there was a schedule change and Marvin Solit went first. Marvin's approach to building tensegrities using Stuart Quimby's Design Science modeling materials is very straightforward, building out from a diameter rather than from the bottom up. We built 12 stick vector equilibriums, and 30 stick icosidodecahedrons, plus one 24 stick experiment, then moved the struts along the tensile members to show polyhedra duals. Next Joe Clinton gave a presentation on tensegrity inventory and tracking its history. He had just finished a class on Synergetics and models made by the class were shown in the lobby and stairwell of the building, including models of the 12 degrees of freedom, a cardboard dome, a stringed tensegrity instrument, a rotegrity with stick pin joints and a movement model with bows. After lunch Don Bridell gave a workshop on Structor Theory (which he now calls Field Structure Theory), which includes a modeling system using tubing torqued to create stable pattern integrities. We used materials he provided to make tetrahedron and double tetrahedron shapes. He actively wants to coordinate exploration using his system to see what further possibilities can be discovered. To the extent that people come up with new things he would like to build a database giving credit to those inventors. He was assisted in his presentation by his wife Moo.

Photos from the Tensegrity Structures Workshop, Oswego, NY, 2004

Next Francois Gabriel gave a slide show on architecture beyond the cube. Amid his gorgeous drawings and models and actual pieces he mapped out his approach to applying geometrical structure unhidden, addressing issues like elevators, doors and people bumping into diagonals. After Francois's presentation and before we broke for dinner, there was time for discussion about the future of SNEC, especially about where and what our venues for next year will be. Generally we're planning for next year a spring informational conference and a summer workshop, hopefully in Oswego again. Ideas that were introduced include plans for the future of the world, in depth studies of the golden ratio, dome building projects, several general geometry topics, model building, sustainable technologies, and even metaphysics, and more, each with provisions for helping humanity. Our group wants to go in many directions, more and less tangible, which though seeming to splinter us proves how we are truly like Bucky: comprehensive in our interests. We find we have a broad diversity. The third yearly involvement that SNEC wants to maintain is in the Fall Conference in Oswego. Through John Belt's facility we can introduce technology teachers to some of the Synergeticists' explorations.

Photos from the Tensegrity Structures Workshop, Oswego, NY, 2004

The SNEC conference coincided with the Harbor Festival in Oswego and after our meeting finally broke up most of the participants enjoyed some aspect of the festival, either music or eating or the fireworks display. Sunday morning Roger Tobie gave a modeling workshop outlining his many years of working with tensile structure. He has developed axioms identifying patterns in prismatic tensegrities applying vector theory to stable structure. We made a 3 stick, 9 bridle model that Roger considers fundamental and played with a 2 string button model that illustrates a point held in space.

It was well worth the trip. Look forward to the next one. Let me know if I can be of help.

-- Brian La Barr

The Circus of Impossible Structures was the next workshop with many people stepping up to the mat to wrestle with the impossible. This display will and has traveled around along with a leaflet to introduce people to our group; it went to the Bridges conference in Kansas also in July. It remains a work in progress for anyone who wants to attempt the impossible.

Photos from the Tensegrity Structures Workshop, Oswego, NY, 2004

Our special guest was Don Richter a student of Fuller's and a founder of Temcor, a major manufacturer of geodesic domes and highway products. Besides outlining some of his personal history he spoke fervently about our need to do something about the survival of humanity, a value he shared with Fuller. He presented his plan for a non profit organization to create autonomous housing for refugee and displaced populations. He is also looking for participation at a later time and only feedback at this meeting. Don was then awarded the Cosmic Fishing Award for his lifetime achievement in geodesics with a replica of one of his 12 inventions which have furthered the field.

Since another planned speaker Ron Resch (photo from a different meeting) was unable to attend we had spare time to include an impromptu presentation by Patrick Doyle an artist form Rochester who enjoys giving workshops. We were impressed by the simplicity of his rubber band joints foldable and expandable polyhedra.

There was also a brief talk by Mary Thorp about her work documenting the sculpture of Harry Bertoia.

Photos from the Workshop Participants

We thanked John Belt for hosting the workshop and all the work he did planning and promoting it. Hopefully he will have more help for workshops in the future, hint, hint.

Our last activity was viewing Ron Resch's CD which is available for $25 plus $5 shipping through Joe Clinton.

Here is a reflection on the workshop in oswego: in retrospect, about the snec meeting in Oswego I learned something from each presenter. I was amazed at the versatility of, so many, including marvin solit (i.e., rolfing and beyond). If possible, can you put up Thomas Zung's speech for the public. Don Richter's talk on ecovillages seems to me a necessary challenge, despite the acknowledged difficulties of launching such a venture. I am looking forward to what he deveops within a year. About the controversy, that is if there was one, with regards to the bandying, which went on about the world game question, or staying with the syn/geometry in pure principle. maybe, with some more resources, and a second wind, more of us might find each has a role to play and that the differences are not as exclusive as one might assume.


Nick Consoletti

Our meeting was documented on video by Bill Schleinitz.

Our challenge is to keep the varied interests of our group, grow the sharing of information of what we're doing to a broader audience while keeping our presentations in depth enough for the people who already know the basics of Synergetics. Your input is welcome.

Jeannie Moberly wrote the first draft of this account. Several additions and corrections from John Belt. Edited by Chris Fearnley. Contributions from Brian La Barr, Nick Consoletti, John Yuan, and Joe Clinton.

List of Attendees:
John Belt Al McMahon
Phil Bishop Kevin Misiano
Don Briddell Jeannie Moberly
Moo Briddell Don Richter
Rich Bush Lois Roccato
Joe Clinton Bill Schleinlitz
Nick Consoletti Chris Serokos
David Copp Barry Silver
Patrick Doyle Marvin Solit
CJ Fearnley Jay Staple
Matt Fisher Roger Tobie
Francois Gabriel Blair Wolfram
John Kirk Serge Young
Brian La Barr John Yuan
Mike Lawton Cameron

Exhibit space contributions:

The schedule for the Tensegrity Structures Workshop

The promotional flyer for the Tensegrity Structures Workshop

Return to the SNEC web site

Please send comments and suggestions to the SNEC webmaster.