Continuing through October 20, 2012
San Diego-based Cauleen Smith has spent the past two years in Chicago researching the life and work of Afrofuturist composer, Sun Ra, resulting in two exhibitions: one at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and the current show, titled “The Journeyman.” While the MCA show was a fine example of a slick, new media aesthetic with Sun Ra recordings played amongst video, digital projections and a mirror maze, “The Journeyman” embodies the earthier, vintage appeal of Ra’s legacy.
Smith presents a range of installations, including a recreation of the library of the El Saturn Research Institute co-founded by Ra sometime in the 1950s. On the walls are actual El Saturn books surrounding a retro furniture set complete with record player; as visitors are invited to hit “play,” Ra’s compositions and conversations fill the space. More than anything, the experience depends on the viewer acting upon their curiosity, and with numerous take-away writings and recordings, the indulging of that curiosity can continue far beyond the exhibition.