Mendi+Keith Obadike

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“[Four Electric Ghosts speaks] in a fabulist way from the deep, secret interior of our imaginations and subconscious . . . What more could we ask for from a night at the theatre than Dance, Music, Sex, Romance, Mysticism, and a newfangled notion of Global Village Literature?” — Greg Tate, author of  Midnight Lightning: Jimi Hendrix and the Black Experience and director, Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber


“hauntingly beautiful and progressive” –Angelique V. Nixon, Conscious Vibration


“In this multimedia performance . . . all was sung / told / danced in the style of Grace Jones, June Tyson and Laurie Anderson, TV on The Radio, Takashi Murakami and the Urban Bush Women. My jaw was on the floor.” — Vijay Iyer, Artforum, Best of The Year Issue


“[T]his was one of the freshest and most interesting performances I’ve caught in years . . . a vision about new ways of thinking about living and learning and a vivid, veritable (Afro-Diasporic-)futurist parable.”  — John Keene, J’s Theater and Rutgers University


“Mendi + Keith Obadike’s Four Electric Ghosts redefines the word ‘electrifying,’ fusing spirit and technology in an enchanting postmodern myth. Their retro-futurist assemblage of story and song, music and movement short-circuits the gap between tradition and modernity in an enthralling contemporary black aesthetic. They give us an original and resonant vision of a world where Tutuola and Iwatani meet and groove.” — Tavia Nyong’o, New York University


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Praise for Big House / Disclosure


“Big House/Disclosure reaches into the far recesses of our social and cultural attics to reveal what has been lost. Mendi + Keith Obadike’s measured and assured tracings of a house not only reveals its repressed and complex history, but acknowledges the deep impact of that unspoken narrative upon our collective psyche. Through the combined use of graphic scores, instructions for actions, photography, performance and sound works, these talented artists not only elucidate the ghostly remains of history, but do so using a language capable of enabling the inanimate corners of a Big House to speak of the unspeakable.”  — Valerie Cassel Oliver, Senior Curator Contemporary Arts Museum Houston


“These brilliantly conceived performance texts and artifacts pointedly personalize the consequences of our unreflective everyday investments in oppression. Here, the viewer-auditor experiences an interactive artwork that is not just of the moment, but embeds us in our painful political pasts. As the chickens are herded home to roost, we can either hide in the Big House after the fashion of Hitchcock’sBirds, or we can prepare to make full Disclosure.” — George E. Lewis, author of A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music


“Big House / Disclosure is a multisensory compendium of the arts and sciences that evokes the communal agency which harbored the emerging power of hoodoo within the insular world of the Black Atlantic. Mendi and Keith Obadike both recover and reenact faceted dimensions of this conjure universe permeated by the tincture of manifold American avant-garde traditions.  The voices of Zora Neale Hurston, Yoko Ono, Sun Ra, George Crumb, Anthony Braxton and High John the Conqueror appear as remedial folk instruction manuals for dealing with the haunting complexities of our contemporary experience. When read and heard cover-to-cover & beginning to end, one longs to witness this operatic magnum opus performed in its entirety.” — Terry Adkins, Professor of Fine Arts University of Pennsylvania


“Mendi + Keith Obadike are 21st century sonic griots channeling spirits worthy of the great poet Larry Neal’s Bebop Ghosts and the interplanetary rhythms of Sun Ra and Pharoah Sanders. The richness of their references – from the nsibidi script of ancient Nigeria to oral histories from modern day Chicago – reminds us of the sacredness of the quotidian and animates the relentless admonitions of human ancestors who refuse to be silenced.  Replete with nuance and wit, Big House / Disclosure is both elegy and praise song to enslaved Africans whose lives and losses speak to us across continents and across the centuries.  Through word, image, performance and sound the Obadikes lead us on a journey that is fluid and fluent, gloriously unpredictable, endlessly inventive and engaging. In so doing, they map a territory of imagination and history that leaves the traveler breathless – and forever grateful.” — Kinshasha Holman Conwill

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