Friday, March 13, 2015

Arty Farty Friday ~ Norman Bel Geddes Had "Seen the Future"

Norman Bel Geddes (art deco, designer, 1893-1958). The 2.49 minute video below, plus a couple of quotes, put what we need to know neatly into a nutshell, and saves wear and tear on my typing fingers too. While I'd never heard of Norman Bel Geddes until now, his daughter Barbara was a familiar face, as "Miss Ellie" in the TV hit series Dallas , a decade or two back.

Norman Bel Geddes was one of those only-in-America figures, part grandiose visionary, part inspired tinkerer, part exalted entrepreneur, and all self-creation — right down to designing his own name. The Futurama exhibit Bel Geddes created for General Motors at the 1939 New York World’s Fair attracted 5 million visitors, and as they left the building they were handed a button that said “I Have Seen the Future.” Boast and slogan rolled into one, those words were also advertising for Bel Geddes. Seeing the future, and remaking the present in its image, was what he did. (See HERE)

From Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas website
When you drive on an interstate highway, attend a multimedia Broadway show, or watch a football game in an all-weather stadium, you owe a debt of gratitude to Norman Bel Geddes (1893–1958). Bel Geddes was both a visionary and a pragmatist who had a significant role in shaping not only modern America but also the nation's image of itself as leading the way into the future. Bel Geddes was a polymath who had no academic or professional training in the activities he mastered—designing stage sets, costumes, and lighting; creating theater buildings, offices, nightclubs, and houses; and authoring prescient books and articles.

Bel Geddes believed that art, as well as architecture and design, could make people's lives psychologically and emotionally richer. He influenced the behavior of American consumers and helped make industrial and theater design into modern businesses. Believing that communication was key to shaping the modern world, Bel Geddes popularized his vision of the future through drawings, models, and photographs.

He was born in Adrian, Michigan on 27 April 1893. I haven't found any birth time so far, the chart is set for 12 noon.

"I Have Seen the Future"...? There simply has to be some strong Uranus link in his natal chart - or Aquarius, or both.

All but one (Mars) of his natal planets are in degrees 1-10 (first decan) of their signs. Not sure whether that's significant; if anything it means that the signs' attributes will shine through clearly. First 10 degrees of any sign are said to be governed by that sign's ruler.

Sun/Venus/Jupiter form a tight cluster, a stellium, in Venus-ruled Taurus, this underlines Bel Geddes' artistic talent which has manifested through his visionary design skills, in a way rather bigger, grander (Jupiter) than products of yer average artist with paintbrush and canvas.

Natal Moon could be in either detail-oriented Virgo ruled by Mercury, or Venus-ruled Libra; either would be fitting. Saturn in Libra here draws artiness from Libra to modify, but not extinguish, its solidarity and serious intent.

Here it is! Uranus, planet of all that is futuristic, unexpected, a tad eccentric. A generational planet, but in this case closely aspected - in opposition from Scorpio to those three Taurus planets. Uranus is shaking up any traditional feel towards which Earthy Taurus might easily be drawn, instead Uranus injects into the mix a longing for all that could be new and exciting, while Taurus stubbornly retains practicality as a requirement.

Uranus is further emphasised by a Yod formation which links, by helpful sextile, Mercury (communication) to Neptune/Pluto (creativity/transformation) in Mercury-ruled Gemini; then links both to Uranus in Scorpio to form the Yod's apex. This, though a scratchy kind of mix draws out the futuristic from what might otherwise have remained in realms of the mundane.


mike said...

He's another of the Neptune conj Pluto club having tremendous sociocultural influence. I admire his deco-modern designs and enthusiasm about the future. Perhaps it was inherent in the Neptune-Pluto generation to desire the shaping of the future in a fashion that was part of the social chatter. That influence tended to die-out in the 1950s with the demise of that generation. Many media portrayed the possibilities of the near and distant decades to come. I've mentioned previously about the "Weekly Reader" we grade-schoolers were required to read and the many futuristic articles it contained...most have come to pass as fiction.

BTW - Terry Pratchett...RIP...was born April 28, 1948. He and Bel Geddes have nearly the same Sun positions.

Twilight said...

mike ~ OOoh! That's a bit of a dinky-quink isn't it! (27/28 April)

BTW there's an old post on Sir Terry, don't know whether you've seen it:

Yes, the generation, of which Bel Geddes was part, was rather special, I've always thought - in fact all born with Pluto in Gemini, whether Neptune was involved or not. The world will not see their like again (I doubt civilisation can last that long). ;-)

anyjazz said...

What an interesting man. Like you I'd never heard of him before.

Twilight said...

anyjazz ~ It's nice to find these largely forgotten gems and give 'em a bit of an airing. :-)