Enter the Impossible

Live performance on November 5th. Doors 7pm for a live screening of the film "As A Song of A World." Show starts 7:30pm. 

Written for the Sun Ra Arkestra

Commissioned by the Paul Fromm Foundation at Harvard University

About the Work

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Photo: Adrien H. Tillmann

This concert, a celebration of the Sun Ra Arkestra and their legacy is the premiere of the piece Enter the Impossible, which I composed for them and which was commissioned by the Paul Fromm Foundation at Harvard University. Throughout the performance you will also hear pieces from the Sun Ra Arkestra’s large collection of works, such as “Say,” which can be found on their recent record Swirling, or “Space is the Place,” amongst many others. The celebration of the Sun Ra Arkestra is my attempt to care for a way of thinking, and more, that provides not only a radical critique of the world, an antiblack world, but also exceeds such world on the basis of making Blackness matter.

The piece begins with a flute solo, which I title “Black Breathing.” It is a meditation after Charles Uzor’s brilliant Memoriam for George Floyd 8’46”. Our music-making flows as a radical critique of an antiblack world, a sound of music that also, at the same time, articulates a better world, and alterdestiny, a world where we fight for Black lives because it is this possibility that Uzor’s music speaks of. To me this is all about space travel in Sun Ra Arkestra’s sense of it. The pipe, that is the flute or maybe the body, that allows for breathing after the end of the world is the space-making technology—our music—which knows that we must care for each other, which means for this planet where we can breathe, to live, and that such is the crucial and unavoidable ask to make Blackness matter.

Following this piece we enter another kind of space, where I, Jessie Cox, a Black life in Switzerland, search for something, although without knowing that I’m searching. This searching we can call the finding of spaces, but it is also a ritual—mystical reperformance of the Arkestra’s practice of making spaces through music for a better world. At any rate, if you follow this unfolding, you will see me find the Arkestra at some point, on this planet in outer space where the angels-demons/immortals dwell—those that can travel the spaceways. At this point, they will travel and we get to listen to their teachings, the teachings of space-time travel and refiguration, we could say we find a technology. This technology is a radical tradition, a black technology, a black hole.

“Black Hole” is a string quartet that provides the center of this concert in that it is where space speaks and where we enter the alterdestiny. It is a distortion of time and space that the string quartet plays out—in this piece the string quartet is spaces.

The last section of the piece, whence we entered the alterdestiny, is where this celebration becomes the cultivation of the practice of making a better world. Where breathing with the unknown, instead of against it, taking place in a care for each other and the great mother, planet earth, and/or the outer blackest darkness, beyond measure becomes our secret in which time and space and us as nothing is.

Performers:

Jessie Cox

Sun Ra Arkestra 

Sam Yulsman

Laura Cocks

Pauline Kim Harris

Conrad Harris 

Eddy Kwon 

Tyler J. Borden

Behind the Scenes: Kevin Ramsay,

David Adamcyk, Isaac Jean-Francois, Adrien H. Tillmann, Peyton Pleninger, jc Scheid, Noah Franche-Nolan, Rohan Chander, Gladstone Butler, Elizabeth Schweitzer

Part of the score is this 3d world. Explore it here just like the musicians will during the performance.

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