Friday, December 7
469 College Street
Stoeckel Hall Rm 106
Food and drink provided.
Mendi + Keith Obadike are two of the most pathbreaking artists of their generation. They make art, music, and literature, and they have exhibited and performed at a range of venues including The New Museum, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Museum of Modern Art. Bold, innovative, daring, and awe inspiring, their work explores, among other things, the complexities of blackness and sonic cultures, technology and racial capitalism, futurity, historical memory, and the entanglements between race and new media. Since 1996 they have been making conceptual Internet art and sound art works together.
Some of their best known works include “My Hands/Wishful Thinking” (2000) an Internet art memorial for Amadou Diallo; their 2002 internet opera The Sour Thunder (Bridge Records, Inc.) which featured hypertext writings by literary critic Houston Baker, performance artist Coco Fusco and musician DJ Spooky among others; and their epic masterpiece, the internet opera entitled Four Electric Ghosts, which was developed for Toni Morrison’s Atelier at Princeton University in 2005 and the Kitchen in New York in 2009. In 2008 they produced a compilation CD entitled Crosstalk: American Speech Music on Bridge Records. The album features music by Vijay Iyer, Guillermo E. Brown, Shelley Hirsch, George E. Lewis, Pamela Z, John Link, Paul Lansky, Tracie Morris, DJ Spooky, Daniel Bernard Roumain and Peter Gordon/Lawrence Weiner. A number of their projects include a series of large-scale, public sound art works: Blues Speaker (for James Baldwin) at The New School, Free/Phase at the Chicago Cultural Center & Rebuild Foundation, Sonic Migration at Scribe Video Center & Tindley Temple, Philadelphia and Compass Song, an app for Times Square (commissioned by Times Square Arts). Their recent museum exhibitions include the group shows Electronic Superhighway (2016-1966) at The Whitechapel Gallery in London, I Was Raised on The Internet at The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the upcoming PROGRAMMED at The Whitney Museum of American Art. They are currently serving as the first artists in residence at Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn. With the unveiling of their installation Utopias: Seeking for A City, the artists ask visitors to think about what songs and stories were in the minds of the people who created Weeksville and other intentional communities.
Keith received a BA in Art from North Carolina Central University and an MFA in Sound Design from Yale University. He is a professor in the College of Arts and Communication at William Paterson University and serves a digital media editor at Obsidian. Mendi received a BA in English from Spelman College and a PhD in Literature from Duke University. She is currently an associate professor in the Writing Department and the Department of Humanities and Media Studies and she directs the Graduate Program in Media Studies at Pratt Institute.