Summoning the Future Forest with the Sun Ra Arkestra

September 26, 2021
4:00pm - 6:00pm
In-person Awbury Arboretum
Germantown, Philadelphia
Organizer S(tree)twork Project Event WebsiteEvent Website
Summoning the Future Forest with the Sun Ra Arkestra

This event is co-presented by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society in collaboration with Ars Nova Workshop, Awbury Arboretum & production designer Eugene Lew. Eugene Lew is also Director of Sound & Music Technology and Recording Engineer at Penn's School of Arts & Sciences.

“The real aim of this music is to co-ordinate the minds of peoples into an intelligent approach to the living future.” – New Horizons, from the liner notes of Jazz by Sun Ra (1959)

Join us for a participatory intra-galactic forest performance crafted to summon the forces of the galaxy to seed a future forest for Philadelphia.

As the city of Philadelphia embarks on a ten-year Urban Forest Strategic Plan with a focus on low canopy neighborhoods, we will come together in the spirit of the visionary composer and pianist Sun Ra whose musical philosophy transcends earthbound limitations through belief in the impossible and the powers of imagination and joy.

Audience members will be invited to meander in a meadow and experience a sound installation with transmissions from Saturn incorporated into an interstellar composition by Marijke Jorritsma (NASA Jet Propulsion Lab) and Yasi Perera (synthesizer builder) with contributions from Micah Keren-Zev + Michaella Moon (CalArts) as well as local sounds gathered by Eugene Lew and Sound Museum Collective. Receptions from the galaxy will entangle with the arboreal frequencies of the Awbury Arboretum in the Germantown neighborhood, the terrestrial headquarters of the Sun Ra Arkestra.

A set of three handmade slit drums—inspired by James Jacson’s Ancient Infinity Lightning Wood Drum (originally played in Sun Ra’s Mythic Science Arkestra) and created by local woodworkers from fallen trees in Awbury Arboretum—will be played to signal the arrival of the Sun Ra Arkestra.

The Sun Ra Arkestra, led by 97-year old Marshall Allen, will set in motion a sonic summoning of cosmic frequencies conjuring a future canopy.

Summoning the Future Forest draws upon the processes of the S(tree)twork Intra-Galactic Forest Workshops attuning public audiences to new perceptions of the spacetime dimensions of trees.