Mendi + Keith Obadike:
Harmonies and Difference Tones

Sculpture + Sound/Light Projection

  • Sep 16+17, 2022 at 9-9:30p
    South Lawn, Johnson Museum

  • Sep 16-Oct 30, 2022
    Mallin Sculpture Court, Johnson Museum


Difference Tones

Plenary outdoor sound/light performance at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum Façade, September 16 & 17: 9pm, 28 minutes. Meditation on the idea of a new thing being produced by an acoustic or conceptual friction.


Polished steel sculpture at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, September 16-October 31. Thirty-foot-long sculpture with harmonic wind sounds. From Anna Julia Cooper, A Voice from the South (1892), the phrase, “The Triumphant Harmonies of the Next,” references an argument normalizing the higher education of women in which she calls for a new time as a marker of new politics. Harmonies invites the listener to contemplate the future while looking to the horizon.

Mendi + Keith Obadike make music, art and literature. Their early works include The Sour Thunder, an Internet opera (Bridge Records), Crosstalk: American Speech Music (Bridge Records), Black.Net.Art Actions, a suite of new media (internet art)  works (published in re:skin on M.I.T Press), Big House / Disclosure, a 200-hour public sound installation (Northwestern University), Phonotype, a book & CD of media artworks, and a poetry collection, Armor and Flesh (Lotus Press). They have contributed sounds/music to projects by wide range of artists including loops for neo-soul singer D’Angelo’s first album and a score for playwright Anna Deavere Smith at the Lincoln Center Institute. They were invited to develop their first “opera-masquerade” by writer Toni Morrison at her Princeton Atelier. Their recent projects include a series of large-scale sound art works: American Cypher at Bucknell University and The Studio Museum in Harlem, Blues Speaker (for James Baldwin) at The New School in New York, Free/Phase at the Chicago Cultural Center, Sonic Migration at Scribe Video Center and Tindley Temple in Philadelphia, and Fit (the Battle Of Jericho) at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Their other honors include a Rockefeller New Media Arts Fellowship, Pick Laudati Award for Digital Art, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Biennial Award. Their intermedia work has been commissioned by The NY African Film Festival and Electronic Arts Intermix, The Yale Cabaret, Whitechapel Art Gallery (London), and The Whitney Museum of Art, among other institutions. Their music has been featured on New York and Chicago public radio, as well as on Juniradio (104.5) in Berlin.  They are currently exhibiting in the group show I Was Raised On The Internet at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and developing new work as artists in residence at the Weeksville Heritage Society in Brooklyn, NY.

Keith Obadike 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 Architecture, Art, and Planning at Cornell University and serves a digital media editor at Obsidian.

Mendi Obadike received a BA in English from Spelman College and a PhD in Literature from Duke University. After working as a Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton University, she became a poetry editor at Fence Magazine and is currently an associate professor in the Department of Humanities and Media Studies at Pratt Institute. Mendi and Keith also serve as art advisors to the Times Square Alliance and The Vera List Center for Art and Politics.

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