Sun Ra is often cited as the founding father of afro-futurism, a tangent of thought which extends through the mothership connections of Parliament-Funkadelic, to the astral techno of Underground Resistance, to the aquatic, lardossian narratives of Drexciya; his work examines racial identity and the black experience in America through the eyes of an alien visiting humanity. The language of this deconstruction is peppered with his own neologisms, like the “astro-black” of outer space, the “myth-science” or “solar-myth” of creation, right down to the name he chose for his band, “the Arkestra”, a linguistic riff on Noah’s biblical safe haven.
Buran, the Soviet Union’s answer to NASA’s Space Shuttle programme, wasn’t quite as successful as its American rival. Just one flight-capable Buran orbiter (craft OK–1K1) was completed, and flew only once, unmanned, on November 15, 1988. Today, a handful of relics from the Buran programme lie strewn across the former Soviet Union and beyond, from half-finished orbiters to a series of full-scale engineering rigs and other test articles; among them was this wooden wind tunnel model, abandoned for years in a corner of Zhukovsky Airfield in Moscow Oblast.
Have you ever wondered how a vinyl player actually plays a record? Well, wonder no more. Microscopic Images shared this image on their Twitter some months back, showing what a record’s groove looks like under 1000x magnification.
Meenakshi Temple was originally built by Kulasekarer Pandya in the 6th century BC, but the credit for the present look of the temple goes to the Nayakas, who ruled Madurai from 16th to 18th century. The reign of the Nayaks marks the golden period of Madurai when art, architecture and learning flourished expansively. The riot of colors, however, is a more recent addition.
Mark’s approach to working with a band always began with hearing their ideas for the project first, because, he pointed out, they always had ideas for it. “It’s pretty rare that someone comes to me and says, ‘Hey I’m doing this record, but I don’t know what to do for the cover.’ That almost never happens. What they really usually need is for someone to edit those ideas.”