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Feb. 19, 2024

From Detroit to the Cosmos: Carl Craig to speak at MSU

In a unique celebration of Black History Month, the Michigan State University Museum and WKAR Public Media present “From Detroit to the Cosmos: Carl Craig on Techno and Afrofuturism.” This exclusive event, featuring the legendary Detroit Techno pioneer Carl Craig in a conversation with Dr. Julian Chambliss, will take place on February 21 in Room 145 of the Communication Arts & Sciences Building at Michigan State University.

The program will kick off with a reception from 6:00 to 7:00 pm, providing a rare opportunity for guests to mingle and engage in an informal setting. Following the reception, from 7:00 to 8:00 pm, Carl Craig and Dr. Chambliss will take the stage for a moderated discussion that promises to be both enlightening and inspiring. They will explore Craig’s illustrious music career, his creative process, and the defining aspects of Detroit Techno. Additionally, the conversation will delve into the genre’s deep-rooted connection with Afrofuturism, highlighting its impact and cultural significance.

As the mastermind behind Planet E Communications, Carl conceived and nurtured a platform that preserves his independence, while also providing a liberating space for a range of international artists over the last 30 years. Carl’s open-minded approach has led to the creation of releases that dip into hip hop, jazz, funk, and more esoteric electronic compositions, purposely avoiding commercial-sounding music. His extensive production and performance history, under various aliases such as 69, C2, Paperclip People and many more, includes six LPs and over 600 remixes, earning him a Grammy nomination in 2008. After showing at the DIA:Beacon, and now acquired as part of the DIA’s permanent collection, Carl’s immersive installation "Party/After Party" was brought to Los Angeles’ esteemed home for contemporary art MOCA. His work has also been showcased at prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall and the Venice Biennale.

Carl’s creative dedication to black excellence and the championing of its creative leaders has led to a series of educational projects in recent years. His ‘All Black Vinyl’ Instagram series, in which he showcases a record from a black artist each day of February evolved into the 2022 ‘All Black Digital’ partnership with Beatport and Quincy Jones’ Qwest TV featuring moving conversations with Black artists and a series of live streams with rising African talent from South Africa’s Constitution Hill. The Beatport partnership continued in 2023 with a series of editorial content showcasing rising Black artists from Detroit and returns to Carl’s own IG in 2024. Also, this year, Carl delivered a special Black History Month DJ Mix to Apple Music alongside a selected playlist featuring all Black artists.

Dr. Julian Chambliss, the Val Berryman Curator of History at the MSU Museum and a Professor of English with a joint appointment in History at MSU, is an esteemed scholar. His research primarily focuses on race, identity, and power in both real and imagined urban spaces. His expertise will add a profound dimension to the discussion on techno music and Afrofuturism.

“This event is a testament to our commitment to exploring the cultural narratives that shape our society. We are honored to host Carl Craig and Dr. Chambliss for this insightful conversation,” said Devon Akmon, Director of the MSU Museum.

Due to the intimate nature of the event, space is extremely limited, and RSVPs are required. The program will also be available via livestream, extending its reach to audiences beyond the university. For RSVP and more details about the event, please visit the event page.

Don’t miss this exceptional evening at Michigan State University, as we journey from Detroit to the cosmos, exploring the interplay of music, creativity, and Afrofuturism.

This story originally appeared on the MSU Museum website.