weekend links: space art, MacArthur Grants, Ken Jacobs


Concept image of a moon landing, 1959. Image courtesy of Longreads.

In 2003, Laurie Anderson was named NASA’s first artist-in-residence in a move that drew ire from conservative lawmakers, who argued that NASA had no business (or budget for) commingling with artists. The incident was symptomatic of the broken bond between the space organization and the art world—a bond that NASA is trying to re-forge with its new “Arts + Mars” program. Fingers crossed for some new space colony renderings. [Longreads]

Speaking of space: NASA’s 1977 Voyager Golden Record is finally seeing wide release. The original recording—featuring nature sounds, spoken greetings, and music from various world cultures—was shot into space in the hopes that aliens might discover it. Now, for a cool 98 dollars, you can discover it, too. [Stereogum]

Congratulations to 2016’s MacArthur “Genius” Grant winners! We could not be more excited to see such luminaries as Maggie Nelson and Claudia Rankine receive this recognition. [The New York Times]

On Thursday, The New York Times dedicated a full page to Langston Hughes’s poem “I, Too,” in commemoration of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, where it is also inscribed. In light of this week’s events (and last week’s, and the weeks’ before), it is a poem well worth revisiting. [Smithsonian]

For the first time in history, the Librarian of Congress isn’t a white man: on Wednesday, Carla Hayden, an African American woman, was sworn in to the position. Maybe now we’ll see fewer interviews being turned down for being “too political and incendiary,” as happened to poet CAConrad earlier this year. (Read more about it in our newest issue!) [Vox]

Austin mayor Steve Adler recently announced a 10 million dollar crowdfunding plan to preserve some of the city's iconic music venues, including the Red River Cultural District, by purchasing them and placing them under the trust's care. Although details are scant at this time, the news has been met with cautious optimism. We'll keep you posted as more develops. [Community Impact]

Optic Antics Festival has been happening this week in Austin, featuring a variety of films, lectures, and performances from famed experimental filmmaker Ken Jacobs and others. If you missed out on Thursday’s AFS screenings, then we can commiserate together, because I did, too. But you can still catch performances tonight, tomorrow, and Sunday, including the “Nervous Magic Lantern” screening on Saturday night, featuring Jacobs, diNMachine, Steve Parker, Tara Bhattacharya Reed, and Rick Reed. Highly recommended.

Portland fans—our Issue 6 release party is happening on Thursday, September 29 at Ristretto Roasters, located at 555 NE Couch St. The event features readings from Kate Jayroe, Nick Jaina, and Sarah Galvin. We interviewed Jaina back in Issue 3, and we have a profile on Galvin in our newest issue, along with four of her newest poems. Hear her read them in person and grab your copy of Issue 6!

—Sean Redmond

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