Bridges 2010 Regular Paper
Eureka and Serendipity: The Rudolf von Laban Icosahedron and Buckminster Fuller's Jitterbug
(Proceedings pages 271–278)
Rudolf von Laban's (1879-1958) famous dance notation (1926) is based
on the icosahedron. Laban strongly believed that our anatomy is
built according to the laws of what he called a
The rational six-sided cube could not describe the movement of the
human body sufficiently. The idea of using the twenty-sided icosahedron
as a matrix was a serendipitious discovery of Laban and it took
place long before the scientific boom started around the icosahedron
with the finding of the icosahedral viruses in 1959 and quasicrystals
in 1984, which all are based on a
“dynamic&8221; or icosahedral symmetry.
Laban's idea of the reunification of mind and body through a
“hands-on” icosahedron model is a good example of the avant-garde
movement just about 100 years ago.
Buckminster Fuller's (1895-1983) discovery of the “jitterbug”
transformation (1948) was his “eureka” experience, and eureka was
the title of an emotional paper he wrote in the same year. It is
the favorite “hands-on” model to demonstrate the
concept. It states that regular geometric bodies do not stand
statically next to one another but they are subjected to various
phases - the tetrahedron, octahedron, icosahedron, cuboctahedron –
of a process of mutual transformation. The epoch-making confirmation
of the “jitterbug” came only after Fuller's death. It will be shown
that this kinematic novelty led to more exciting inventions and
“hands-on” for performances.
The epilogue “Eureka, Serendipity and Hands-on” is a reminiscence
on the “hands-on” movement in the sixties.