Mendi+Keith Obadike Launch Big House / Disclosure

Mendi+Keith Obadike:

For Immediate Release
a 200-hour long house song with the voices of Chicago-area Citizens

WHEN: March 1st- 8th
WHERE: Northwestern Univ. Campus – Kresge Hall and online at
CONTACTS: ( &, 847-491-4890 (Northwestern Office of
University Relations)

Mendi + Keith Obadike (born 1973, USA) make interdisciplinary art works using live art, music, literature, and new media. One of their better-known projects is Blackness for Sale, in which they auctioned Keith’s blackness on eBay. Mendi + Keith were commissioned by Northwestern University’s Art Theory and Practice Department to create a new work, Big House / Disclosure, an intermedia suite featuring a 200-hour long house song that will be heard in real-time from March 1st-8th in Kresge Hall on Northwestern’s campus and online at This work was created in honor of the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the British Slave trade in 1807 and Chicago’s role as the first city in the United States to adopt a Slavery Era Disclosure Ordinance in 2002, requiring businesses seeking city contracts to disclose whether they have profited from slavery.

Big House / Disclosure was constructed using audio interviews conducted by Northwestern University students with Chicago-area citizens about slavery and the city’s slavery era ordinance. Mixing these interviews with elements of Chicago house music, the artists created a multi-channel sound installation. The project includes 200 video clips of live art and musical performances viewable from the website ( Musical events in the sound installation are triggered by custom-designed software tracking the real-time rise and fall stock prices of several corporations that have admitted to profiting from slavery.

Keith Obadike received a BA in Visual Art from North Carolina Central University and an MFA in Sound Design from Yale University. Mendi Obadike received a BA in English from Spelman College and a Ph.D. in Literature from Duke University. They have received a Rockefeller New Media Art Fellowship and commissions from the Whitney Museum of American Art, Whitechapel Gallery of London, Electronic Arts Intermix, and The New York African Film Festival. Their Internet opera, The Sour Thunder, was commissioned by Yale University, broadcast in its’ entirety in (104.5 fm) Berlin, and released by Bridge Records in 2004. In 2005 they launched Four Electric Ghosts, an opera produced by Toni Morrison’s Atelier at Princeton University, and in 2006 they performed a live sound art transmission from the Amory Art Show in New York commissioned by the Franklin Furnace. Big House / Disclosure has been generously supported by a Pick-Laudati Award from Northwestern University.