Sun Ra | photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images / Moor Mother | photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN / King Britt | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN / Suzi Analogue | still from video via Never Normal Records
Explore King Britt’s Google exhibit Blacktronika: Afrofuturism in Electronic Music
Just before the world settled into the pandemic lockdown, Philly producer / DJ / sound artist King Britt made the move across country to take a faculty position at University of California, San Diego. Working as an Assistant Teaching Professor in Computer Music, King teaches a lecture course called Blacktronika : Afrofuturism In Electronic Music, and now a virtual exhibit based on that course is available to the public.
Launched this week via Google Arts and Culture and linked yesterday from the Google front page, the Blacktronica website presents histories and perspectives on 17 Black and brown innovators in the electronic music universe. The exhibit opens with Sun Ra — considered by many to be the father of Afrofuturism, the multi-disciplinary nexus of science fiction, art, music, and Black liberation — and includes icons like funk visionary Bernie Worrell and Public Enemy producer Hank Shocklee, present day boundary-pushers Moor Mother and Suzi Analogue, and Philadelphia-rooted artists like Soulquarian keyboard virtuoso James Poyser and King himself.
With richly informative blocks of text, vivid large-scale photographs, and immersive video clips as well — as a meditative score for each artist by King — Blacktronika feels very much like a museum exhibition delivered directly to your computer screen. Explore the website here, and listen to music from some of the featured artists below.