FREE/PHASE intermedia suite: experience it now at the Rebuild Foundation Stony Island Arts Bank!

6760 South Stony Island Avenue, Chicago

Read Later

FREE/PHASE, the suite of sound-based public artworks commissioned by the Center for Black Music Research in 2015 as a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the Selma/Montgomery marches, is now on exhibit at the Stony Island Arts Bank.

FREE/PHASE is 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 are a multidimensional and multi-sourced remix of songs of freedom culled from the archives of the Center for Black Music Research.

Beacon: A Sound Installation. Acting as a literal beacon of freedom, at 9 am, Noon, and 7pm, melodies from freedom songs will chime from the balcony of the Stony Island Arts Bank, like a beam from a lighthouse or a call to prayer.

Overcome: A Video and Surround Sound Work. In Overcome, Mendi and Keith Obadike have married field recordings made on site at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama and freedom songs to reimagine the song “We Shall Overcome.” This unites a site and a song associated with a key moment in the Civil Rights Movement.

Dialogue with DJs: A Community Engagement Work
From 2pm – 6pm, Tuesdays through Saturdays, the public will have opportunities to engage in private listening sessions and guided conversations about music and freedom with renowned Chicago DJs.The DJs will draw on their own knowledge of black music and 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.

All nodes can be experienced free of charge at the Stony Island Arts Bank from June 4-18, 2016. Beacon plays from the balcony of the Stony Island Arts Bank at 9 am, 12 pm, and 7 pm daily. Overcome plays on a loop during the Stony Island Arts Bank open hours (Tuesday through Saturday, 12pm-7pm). And Dialogue with DJs occurs Tuesday through Saturday from 2pm to 6pm.

Join the conversation with #StonyIslandArtsBank, #RebuildFoundation, and #FreePhase.

Image from the Rebuild Foundation website:

FREE/PHASE is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, The Kresge Foundation, the Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College, and Rebuild’s individual donors, close friends, and volunteers.

Recent Articles


  • CrossTalk: Cross Talk is a student-driven, multimedia destination dedicated to original student work that explores the sound-music continuum of the African Diaspora.
  • Depth Sounding: A platform for short-form scholarship intended for a wide audience, Depth Sounding is a space for up-to-the-minute thought in which authors can experiment with format, media, content, argument construction, and more, in ways that privilege or more fully integrate sound.
  • Free/Phase: Follow the FREE/PHASE suite of sound-based art works by artists Mendi+Keith Obadike, commissioned by the CBMR.
  • From the Stacks: Reviews and reactions to lucky “finds” and new additions within the CBMR Library and Archives–updated as serendipity leads. Contributors: staff, student workers, students, interns, patrons.
  • News: Events, notices, reviews–things that are timely.
  • Publications: All the in-house publications of the CBMR, past and present plus planned, except for the monographs and the BMRJ, which are available elsewhere. Ask us!