Page 11 - Shared Vision

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The future must enter you long before it happens.
-R. M. Rilke
I was teaching at the Philadelphia College of Art when I
attended Vision 65. Such an accessible and international
congress had never happened before.
The Internet allows us to take for granted the instantaneous
communication of an abundance of information, so it may
be hard to imagine that in 1965 there was little in place
that offered so many new models for communication in a
completely new way. Conferees from all over the country
and abroad were presented with modes and forms of
communication that were not even thinkable.
And because Vision 65 was in a central locale—
Carbondale, Illinois—anyone could afford to come.
Marshall McLuhan spoke of “technological extensions of
consciousness” and introduced to us his now-ubiquitous
mantra, “That is why the medium is the message.”
Buckminster Fuller described the invisible webbing of the
universe and told us that design must be conceived in a
global context. Both seers, brilliant and symbiotic in mind
and spirit, were describing and offering a plan for future
commitment and purpose as designers and change agents.
When I later taught at Penn State and served on the
graduate committee at Columbia University, I brought
these progressive ideas to faculties and students. After I
became dean at Massachusetts College of Art in 1970,
I was able to create departments and interdisciplinary
courses that combined media, art, and design and to hire
the visionary teachers to inspire students.
Al Gowan was one of those teachers. I hired him because we
agreed that a comprehensive view of design must be nurtured
to fight the increasing specialization that the field seemed to
be taking. It was evident that somewhere in his youth he had
been inspired. We didn’t discover that we’d both attended
Vision 65 until he began talking about this book.
The vision that animated his career and my own was born in
Carbondale. The inspiration of Harold Cohen, the courage of
Delyte Morris, and the genius of Buckminster Fuller in that
place at that time made something significant happen.
John W. Cataldo, Professor Emeritus,
Dean 1970–1978
Massachusetts College of Art and Design