Performance: Mendi + Keith Obadike – "Numbers Station 2 [Red Record]": Block Museum - Northwestern University
Skip to main content

Performance: Mendi + Keith Obadike – "Numbers Station 2 [Red Record]"

title text with brown background
12:30 PM-1:30 PM

Event Details

Date & Time:

Sat October 8, 2022
12:30 PM-1:30 PM


Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts, Black Box 101 (enter through Campus Drive)
1949 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208


Open to the public


In this piece, artists Mendi + Keith Obadike sonify data from Ida B. Wells' 1895 publication, The Red Record: Tabulated Statistics and Alleged Causes of Lynching in the United States, with chants and sounds generated from the dates of lynching contained in Wells' text. This is the second work in Mendi + Keith Obadike's Number Series (2015–present), a series of performances and sound installations that use numerical databases of violence (police harassment, lynching statistics, and slave ship manifests) to generate sonic information.

This performance will be preceded by a One Book One Northwestern gallery talk at the neighboring Block Museum of Art. Guests are welcome to join us for one or both programs; registration required.

RSVP FOR 12:30 PM PerformANCE



This performance is presented in connection with the Block’s Winter–Spring 2022 exhibition A Site of Struggle: American Art against Anti-Black Violence, currently on view at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, and 2022–23 One Book One Northwestern (OBON) selection How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with The History of Slavery Across America by Clint Smith.


Presented by the Block Museum in partnership with The Alumnae of Northwestern University and the Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts.


Watch Performance Excerpt

About the Artists


Mendi + Keith Obadike make music, art and literature. Their early works include The Sour Thunder, an Internet opera (Bridge Records), Crosstalk: American Speech Music (Bridge Records), Black.Net.Art Actions, a suite of new media (internet art)  works (published in re:skin on M.I.T Press), Big House / Disclosure, a 200-hour public sound installation (Northwestern University), Phonotype, a book & CD of media artworks, and a poetry collection, Armor and Flesh (Lotus Press). They have contributed sounds/music to projects by wide range of artists including loops for neo-soul singer D'Angelo's first album and a score for playwright Anna Deavere Smith at the Lincoln Center Institute. They were invited to develop their first "opera-masquerade" by writer Toni Morrison at her Princeton Atelier. Their recent projects include a series of large-scale sound art works: American Cypher at Bucknell University and The Studio Museum in Harlem, Blues Speaker (for James Baldwin) at The New School in New York, Free/Phase at the Chicago Cultural Center, Sonic Migration at Scribe Video Center and Tindley Temple in Philadelphia, and Fit (the Battle Of Jericho) at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Their other honors include a Rockefeller New Media Arts Fellowship, Pick Laudati Award for Digital Art, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Biennial Award. Their intermedia work has been commissioned by The NY African Film Festival and Electronic Arts Intermix, The Yale Cabaret, Whitechapel Art Gallery (London), and The Whitney Museum of Art, among other institutions. Their music has been featured on New York and Chicago public radio, as well as on Juniradio (104.5) in Berlin.  They are currently exhibiting in the group show I Was Raised On The Internet at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and developing new work as artists in residence at the Weeksville Heritage Society in Brooklyn, NY.

Contact The Block Museum of Art for more information: (847) 491-4000 or email us at