Mothership (Capsule)

Created by
Pinder, Jefferson, American, born 1970
Subject of
President Barack Obama, American, born 1961
Ra, Sun, American, 1914 - 1993
Wonder, Stevie, American, born 1950
tin, wood, chrome, loudspeakers, audiovisual equipment and mixed media
H x W x D: 92 1/2 × 75 × 86 in., 571 lb. (235 × 190.5 × 218.4 cm, 259 kg)
multimedia works
45 rpm records
Place made
Washington, District of Columbia, United States, North and Central America
An abstracted replica of the NASA Mercury space capsule. The sculpture is made from pieces of tin that were salvaged from structures in and around Baltimore, Maryland, and re-purposed lumber gathered from President Obama’s 2009 inaugural platform. The sculpture is displayed angled onto its side. Inserted into the top of the sculpture is an Altec (R) model 416-8A sub-woofer speaker, and the base of the sculpture is a 24" chrome alloy (wheel) rim. In the interior of the sculpture is a Philips DVD player (HTS3371D), with a Philips audio cable connecting the player to the speaker, and a remote to control the player externally. A DVD plays from inside the sculpture on a loop, bass tones only: “Space is the Place” by Sun Ra and “Living in the City” by Stevie Wonder.
African American
African diaspora
Funk (Music)
Local and regional
Politics (Practical)
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Henry Thaggert III in memory of Burnell P. Thaggert
Object number
Restrictions & Rights
© Jefferson Pinder. Permission required for use.
See more items in
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Visual Arts
Visual Art and the American Experience
On View
NMAAHC (1400 Constitution Ave NW), National Mall Location, Culture/Fourth Floor, 4 052
Data Source
National Museum of African American History and Culture

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