The back jacket of Sun Ra’s Atlantis
LP invokes “The Dead Past”—a phrase that also appears on the sleeves of several other Sun Ra albums. Ra’s vision of a society that has left corrupted Western society behind— somewhat in line with radical black separatist movements of his time—led him to call for the transposition of the black community away from the whites that oppressed them. His 1974 film, Space is the Place
, begins in just such a community: an all-black colony on another planet. This album’s title, Atlantis
, alludes to a lost city that is completely cut off from the rest of the world. Is such a relic of the “dead past” counter-intuitively an inspiration for the very utopian society that Ra has been looking for?
—Max Lowe ’19
From the exhibition: Art Forms of Dimensions Tomorrow (April 13 – April 16, 2017)