Delve Winter 2019 – The Wisdom of Sun Ra: Music, Myth, and the Altered Destiny


Delve Winter 2019 – The Wisdom of Sun Ra: Music, Myth, and the Altered Destiny


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The Wisdom of Sun Ra: Music, Myth, and the Altered Destiny

Sundays, January 6 – 27, 2019 (4 meetings)
2:00 – 4:00 p.m. 
Guide: Jesse Carsten, Tuition: $150

Sun Ra was many things: master jazz pianist, bandleader, composer, as well as an activist, philosopher, and poet. He was also one of the world’s great, if unacknowledged, Mythologists. His work, an expansive space music built on a poetics of the ancient, was intended to transform the consciousness of the people of planet Earth. “My job,” he said “is to change five billion people to something else”. The Human Race needed an alternate destiny – a better world initiated by way of Music, Poetry, and Myth. This was Sun Ra’s offering.  In this Delve we explore the life, work, and poetics of Sun Ra in search of the altered destiny he professed.   A curated selection of Sun Ra’s music will be provided and a portion of each class meeting will be given to listening and discussing a piece of music in relation to the written material.  


The Immeasurable Equation by Sun Ra 
A Pure Solar World: Sun Ra and the Birth of Afro-Futurism by Paul Youngquist (University of Texas Press, 2016)
The Inner Reaches of Outer Space by Joseph Campbell (New World Library:The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell)

In the final project of the year-long series We.Construct.Marvels.Between.Monuments., artistic director Libby Werbel partners with Deep Underground (Bethlehem Daniel, Madenna Ibrahim, Mia O’Connor-Smith, and Janessa Narciso) to present MONUMENTS. The Earth Expedition of Sun Ra ―a multimedia presentation of film, music, and art by Afrofuturist artist, musician, and philosopher Sun Ra (active on earth 1934 – 1993). As the critical conversation develops around the removal of public monuments across the American landscape, we ask ourselves: what are the new monuments we wish to build? Who are the artists, thinkers, and heroes we wish to exalt and preserve for future generations? MONUMENTS. upholds Sun Ra as one of these visionary figures.

Jesse Carsten is an artist, performer and poet living in Portland. He holds an MA in Mythological Studies with an emphasis in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara California. He has also received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He most recently had a book published by Hassla Press, New York in collaboration with artist B. Ingrid Olsen. He is currently working on a Ph.D. dissertation exploring Sun Ra’s music and mythos.