Caitlin DeSilvey will introduce an exploration in film of the fabled Drop City – a short-lived artists’ community founded in 1965 in Southern Colorado. Directed by Joan Grossman, the story of Drop City is told through interviews, hand-drawn animations, photos and experimental films shot by artists and filmmakers who lived there.
The community that formed on the site became known as Droppers, and developed an irreverent and iconoclastic practice repurposing the surplus of a wasteful society and using it to invent new ways of building with geometric form, inspired by Buckminster Fuller’s now ubiquitous geodesic domes. The Droppers had little previous building experience, but they channeled their ingenuity and exuberance to transform salvage – culled lumber, bottle caps, car parts and other detritus – into shelter. Drop City is widely recognised as the first rural countercultural commune of the 1960s, and its early experiments with immersive art, alternative technology and zero-waste living feel deeply relevant today.
Caitlin DeSilvey is Professor of Cultural Geography at the University of Exeter and Academic Director of Arts & Culture for the University’s Cornwall Campuses. Her research explores the cultural significance of material transformation and decay, as well as counter-processes of repair and maintenance. She frequently collaborates with artists on a range of transdisciplinary projects and is also a studio holder at CAST.