Mendi + Keith Obadike

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Lull & Lift

In July of 2020 Mendi Obadike and her collaborator Keith Obadike wrote, composed and streamed a new 8 hour work called Lull, a sleep temple. Lull is an overnight sound work and sonic environment for rest.


In creating Lull, Mendi + Keith Obadike researched sleep cycles and ways that sound, music and language could induce rest in the body. This work became a way to respond not only to the sleeplessness many have been experiencing during the pandemic, but also to the idea of civil unrest that accompanies the push for justice that many are making during this time.


Lull premiered July of 2020 in the Grey Center for Arts and Inquiry Sound Sessions. It was also streamed in January via YouTube and Mendi + Keith met with students in Northwestern University’s Sound Art and Industries program, the PhD in Screen Cultures, and the School of Communication.


The next streaming of Lull will be during the Month of May as part of the Look + Listen Festival. The work will be screened three times for different parts of the world. On May 8th the stream will begin at 10 pm PDT/UTC-7 (LA). On May 15 the stream will begin at 10 pm UTC-1 (Lagos/Berlin). On May 29 the stream will begin at 10 EST/UTC-5 (NYC/Bogota). The first 100 people to register for the stream with festival (free) will be mailed a “dream kit,” which includes a handmade candle, a sachet, and a printed bedtime poem from the album.


Another work Mendi has produced with her partner is Lift (Listening Skies). It is a streaming aerial video and music work presented by Artspace New Haven and The Yale Center for Collaborative Art and Media. Lift is what Mendi describes as a meditation on both the history of aerial photography and the one hundred year old song often called the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” The song was originally written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson, set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson. Mendi + Keith knew they wanted to work with the anthem and to investigate the sky as a listening witness to racism, to history, but also as a way to connect the sky to ideas of racial uplift.


Both Lull and Lift (Listening Skies) are works that Mendi and Keith are still touring. You can find a video of both Mendi and Keith talking about Lift (Listening Skies) here and can find more information on the next streaming of Lull here.


You can sign up for information about Lull, Lift, or other works by Mendi + Keith Obadike here.