“The impossible attracts me,” said the legendary musician Sun-Ra, “because everything possible has been done and the world didn’t change.” A father of Afrofuturist thought, Sun-Ra used his music, poetry, and philosophical musings to articulate a vision of another way of life…on a different kind of planet. Life on Earth as we know it had become untenable, Ra felt, and so he recorded more than two hundred albums of experimental jazz – sometimes known as ‘space music’ – to provide a soundtrack for extra-terrestrial transcendence.
Sun-Ra passed away in 1993, but his visions are more vital than ever. As we navigate a planet that is still ruled by the oppressive power structures he spent his life reimagining, Ra’s intellectual and creative legacy provides both solace and inspiration. Fusing Ancient Egyptology with futuristic insights, Sun-Ra created an aesthetic and an ideology that continues to influence people the world over. Through his sublime musical explorations, Sun-Ra (and his Arkestra) offered a portal by which to escape our earthly confines, and enter an entirely new universe of sound.
Smiley has always been a beacon for defiant optimism.
At this crucial moment in history, we are inspiring people to imagine, reflect, and manifest better futures.
In collaboration with author Phoebe Lovatt and a diverse array of visual artists we are sharing visions, thoughts, and philosophies on the future in an effort to inspire people with more positivity, creativity, and brighter, big-picture ideas.
Welcome to the #SmileyFutureProject.
Words by Phoebe Lovatt Artwork by Wekaforé Jibril
Further Listening/Viewing: Space is The Place (1974) – Film and accompanying soundtrack.