Summoning the Future Forest with the Sun Ra Arkestra | Ars Nova Workshop
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Summoning the Future Forest

with the Sun Ra Arkestra

Sunday, September 26 4:00–6:00PM

“The real aim of this music is to co-ordinate the minds of peoples into an intelligent approach to the living future.”
—New Horizons, from the liner notes of Jazz by Sun Ra (1959)

Join us for a participatory intra-galactic forest performance crafted to summon the forces of the galaxy to seed a future forest for Philadelphia.

As the city of Philadelphia embarks on a ten-year Urban Forest Strategic Plan with a focus on low canopy neighborhoods, we will come together in the spirit of the visionary composer and pianist Sun Ra whose musical philosophy transcends earthbound limitations through belief in the impossible and the powers of imagination and joy.

Audience members will be invited to meander in a meadow and experience a sound installation with transmissions from Saturn incorporated into an interstellar composition by Marijke Jorritsma (NASA Jet Propulsion Lab) and Yasi Perera (synthesizer builder) with contributions from Micah Keren-Zev + Michaella Moon (CalArts) as well as local sounds gathered by Eugene Lew and Sound Museum Collective. Receptions from the galaxy will entangle with the arboreal frequencies of the Awbury Arboretum in the Germantown neighborhood, the terrestrial headquarters of the Sun Ra Arkestra.

A set of three handmade slit drums — inspired by James Jacson’s Ancient Infinity Lightning Wood Drum (originally played in Sun Ra’s Mythic Science Arkestra) and created by local woodworkers from fallen trees in Awbury Arboretum — will be played to signal the arrival of the Sun Ra Arkestra.

The Sun Ra Arkestra, led by 97-year old Marshall Allen, will set in motion a sonic summoning of cosmic frequencies conjuring a future canopy.

Summoning the Future Forest draws upon the processes of the S(tree)twork Intra-Galactic Forest Workshops, attuning public audiences to new perceptions of the spacetime dimensions of trees.


S(tree)twork is a multi-year, public art project rooted in Philadelphia whose aim is to animate how we live among trees; how we perceive them; and how we imagine our future co-habitation. S(tree)twork aligns with the city of Philadelphia’s ten-year strategic plan to forest the city; “to set forth new ways of working with residents to mitigate climate change and to prioritize equity in delivery, ensuring that the most vulnerable communities benefit from a healthy tree canopy.”

S(tree)twork is curated by Marina McDougall on behalf of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society in partnership with lead artists Futurefarmers along with many interdisciplinary collaborators.

Sunday, September 26 4:00–6:00PM


  • Performance
  • Workshop

Program Info

Free with RSVP
All Ages


Interstellar compositions by Marijke Jorritsma and Yasi Perera

The sounding of infinity slit drums and a performance by the Sun Ra Arkestra with Marshall Allen

And much more…


Awbury Arboretum
Philadelphia, PA

Presented by

This program is co-presented by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Awbury Arboretum, and Ars Nova Workshop as part of S(tree)twork, a multi-year public art project rooted in Philadelphia.