Afro-futurism (‘The Shadows Took Shape’ at the Studio Museum

050

David Huffman MLK

051

Kiluanji Kia Henda, Icarus

054 055

William Cordova Miniature Spacecraft

057

Derrick Adams, We<> Here

058

William Viallongo

060

Cristina de Middel, Afronauts

sun ra

(Charles Shabacon, portrait of Sun Ra)

A few of the things I saw, “The Shadows Took Shape” at the Studio Museum in Harlem. A 1990s art movement, Afro-futurism is inspired by the visionary art of free style jazz musician and cosmic philosopher Sun Ra, who was prominent in the 1960s and 1970s. Out of this world and spanning continents, Afro-futurism blends sci-fi, pop, and gnostic religion. Born Herman Blount in the 1930s and abducted by aliens who took him to Saturn, Sun Ra claimed to have undergone mystical transport and revelation. In contrast, the artifacts on display here are built of harder and more ramshackle, cheaply constructed material. The odds stacked against it, Afro-futurism is a tongue in cheek and low-tech retro disaster aesthetic. I’m not sure, but I don’t think it is supposed to transcend the reality its seekers seek to leave behind, even as you get the vague sense that the sound of someplace better out there crackles in distant galaxies. For an excellent review, see http://hyperallergic.com/95760/the-days-of-future-past-afrofuturism-and-black-memory/

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish though and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
This entry was posted in uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Afro-futurism (‘The Shadows Took Shape’ at the Studio Museum

  1. dmfant says:

    cool, reminds me of P-Funk’s mothership (google images).
    did you catch:
    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/latenightlive/isaac-and-isaiah/5125252 ?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s