Modern Griots Recap: OmniPresent

“The Protector” (one of the art pieces)

Thursday, I attended the science fiction magazine, Omni Magazine, reboot reception and although I was not overwhelmingly impressed with the exhibition, there were a few highlights from it that I took away:

*DJ and musical creative King Britt was there to show off his skills, including his  A Different View mix (listen below), and some artwork he collected for the exhibition, which was uniquely placed in view-master toys hanging from the ceiling. He describes the collection: “Fast forward to now. In my music collaboration with Omni, I selected a few images that I remember or spoke to me from the archives. The particular images I ‘scored’, influenced the sounds I decided on, the sonic direction and vision. I definitely gravitated toward images, that displayed multicultural ethnicity in a science fiction and futuristic context for my collaboration.

My favorites were photos from The Man as Art article from the June 1981 issue. Malcolm Kirk photographed many natives from a tribe in New Guinea, which are breathtaking. The article explains the different modes of dress and meaning behind different jewelry and such. The main quote from the article is “In this island society, a man’s status is measured by the value of what he gives away”. So I present to you Omnipresent : A Different View.” All the works can be seen on each track on King Britt’s souncloud page.

*There was a clip of the Salvador Dali and Jon Stevens’ Silver People project. Here is a description: “Memorable metal images of people and gods throughout the ages, have further identified for us their connection with the infinite by covering their faces and bodies with silver and gold. The ancient Greeks struck immortality with their coins leaving sculptured impressions of their god and goddesses from Mount Olympus: Zeus, Athena, Hermes, Hero, Hercules, Dionysus, Helios, Poseidon.

El Dorado, the golden man, walked the earth covered with powdered gold.

Reliquary masks of kings and saints, from the golden Buddhas to Prometheus, the Rolls Royce lady, Hollywood’s Oscar, The Silver Surfer, and the Blonde done in by Goldfinger.”

*Omni Magazine’s new editor and lead singer of YACHT, Claire Evans, gave a thoughtful lecture on music, science

King Britt's part of the exhibition
King Britt’s part of the exhibition

fiction and the future. She basically discussed how music has been part of science fiction, such as in films and shows, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Mars Attacks, Star Trek’s “This Way to Eden” episode, Star Wars‘ cantina scene, Contact‘s opening scene, and 2001 Space Odyssey‘s HAL 9000 singing Daisy, as well as in space exploration, like NASA’s Golden Record. But often these sounds in these productions and explorations represent us in the present, not in the actual future, and also it is us making assumptions that aliens would understand, if they evolved similar to us, or enjoy our musical sensibilities. Also, how will music evolve centuries from now if we are still here and given that it takes sound to travel years across the cosmos, would the music we send out be an accurate representation of us at that time in the future; is there an eternal, objective music, would it still be considered music? Is electronic music close to that, given that it is still programmed by humans, so it is still subjective? Will artificial intelligence create more “eternal music?” Maybe it is music that we have never heard and cannot live to experience?

Hmmm, it makes me think of how this is reflected to music in afrofuturism and African-descended spiritual exploration of rhythm in the universe? What would many of the musical artists like Sun Ra think?

*Last, one of the other exhibition’s pieces were of John Berkey‘s artwork and his explanation for why he created spaceships in an atypical way. He believed that in his art he could think of spaceships outside of the sharp, angular designs, but that they could be round in shape or even vapor like the gods riding the clouds.

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