FREE/PHASE: The Events

FREE/PHASE: An Intermedia Suite in Three Nodes

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FREE/PHASE: An Intermedia Suite in Three Nodes
Created by Mendi and Keith Obadike
Using the archives of the Center for Black Music Research (CBMR)
Chicago Cultural Center from April 6-9, 2015

FREE/PHASE is an intermedia suite created by artists and composers Mendi and Keith Obadike. FREE/PHASE was commissioned by the Center for Black Music Research (CBMR), as a celebration of the recent 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the 50th anniversary of the Selma/Montgomery marches, and the 30-plus years since the founding of the CBMR. FREE/PHASE is a suite of sound-based public artworks based on the premise that black music provides a record of the desire for freedom and serves as inspiration for movements leading to that goal. Each of the project’s three nodes will be a multidimensional and multi-sourced remix of songs of freedom culled from the CBMR archives. The three nodes of the suite will be performed from April 6-9, 2015 at the Chicago Cultural Center. Details of the performance schedule can be found below, all events are free and open to the public.

Beacon: A Sound Installation.
Acting as a literal beacon of freedom, the Beacon sound installation will play the melodies of freedom songs from speakers on the roof of the Chicago Cultural Center. They will chime like a bell, shine like a beam from a lighthouse, and sing like a call to prayer.

Beacon: A Sound Installation
Broadcast from the East Rooftop
9 am, 12 noon, and 7 pm, April 6-9, 2015
The Chicago Cultural Center , 78 E. Washington Ave, Chicago, IL.

9AM: “Rise, Shine, For Thy Light is a’ Comin’”
Noon: “Woke Up This Morning With My Mind Set on Freedom”
7pm: “Keep Your Lamps Trimmed”

Overcome: A Video and Surround Sound Work
In Overcome, Mendi and Keith Obadike have married field recordings and freedom songs. They use field recordings made this year on site at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama to reimagine the song “We Shall Overcome.” In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Selma/Montgomery march across the bridge, Overcome unites this seminal freedom song from the Civil Rights movement with the sound of a seminal location in its history.

Overcome: A Video and Surround Sound Work
Performed at The Claudia Cassidy Theater
Running continuously from 10:00AM-7:00PM, April 6-9, 2015
The Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Ave, Chicago, IL.

We Shall Overcome

Dialogue with DJs: A Community Engagement Work
This node of the FREE/PHASE suite is designed to engage the community in a deep and interactive relationship with freedom songs. In Dialogue, the public can engage guided conversations with live DJs in the Grand Army Rotunda of the Chicago Cultural Center. At this location, live DJs with a deep knowledge of black music will create a sound work that encourages community participation. For their work, the DJs will draw from 150 freedom songs curated from the collection of the Center for Black Music Research. That number of songs was chosen to honor the 150 years since the Emancipation Proclamation.

Dialogue with DJs: A Community Engagement Work
Performed in the Grand Army Rotunda
Running continuously from 10:00AM-7:00PM, April 6-9, 2015
The Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Ave, Chicago, IL.
DJs will include Johari Palacio, Rae Chardonnay, and Mike Ezebukwu.

The three nodes taken together create a cultural arc—hope, struggle, and dialogue—that mirrors stages in African-American history and echo the call and struggle for freedom.

The Chicago Cultural Center is located at 78 E. Washington Ave, Chicago, IL. Please visit www.cityofchicago.org for hours and directions. Please visit http://blogs.colum.edu/cbmr/ for additional information and for continuous project updates and commentary.

Mendi and Keith Obadike

Mendi and Keith Obadike

Mendi and Keith Obadike make art works with sound, reshaping place and reframing time.

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  • CrossTalk: Cross Talk is a student-driven, multimedia destination dedicated to original student work that explores the sound-music continuum of the African Diaspora.
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