Fair and Festival – No.12: The Ford Pavilion

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More than their latest models the Ford company’s Century-21 pavilion was about space, influenced by Sputnik and Buckminster Fuller – a geodesic cap or crown for thinking about space.  On its “An Adventure in Outer Space” one flew through the close universe of planets and satellites.  I did not visit it, but imagine that it was by today’s simulated trips a passive journey – like TV more than Disneyland.  (Neither have I “visited” video games.)  Even on Ford’s budget such a trip would be hard to create convincingly in 1962.  But with a willing suspension of one’s critical faculties who needs to be convinced?  Well, you and I do.  This reminds me of the Great Fire of 1666 kinetic diorama at the Museum of London History, which Jean and I visited with a trot in 2005.  For a recreation of the fire that flatted much of London one stood in a darkened closet and really suspended one’s disbelief while watching a jerky version of the fire grow through a window, as if seeing it across the Thames.

The Ford Pavilion was at the south end of Nob Hill beyond John and nearly up against Denny Way.  Jean’s “now” is adjusted by a few feet to the east in order to include sculptor Alexander Liberman’s assemblage of industrial cylinders, some 40 feet long and sixty-four inches in diameter.

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Look for No. 69 on Boulevard 21. Or find the southeast corner of the Food Circus, aka Center House, and look south towards Broad Street.

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