Who: Mendi + Keith are artists who work across art, music and literature. You can find more info at Obadike.com
What: American Cypher an intermedia suite, or an artwork with with literary, visual art, musical, and performance components. A cypher is:
1) the mark of a king.
2) a zero
3) a person of no importance.
4) a secret method of writing or a message written in secret code
Why: The first chapter of this project Stereo Helix for Sally Hemings, a sound installation, was commissioned by Bucknell University’s Griot Institute for Africana Studies and the Samek Art Gallery for a series on Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. There are many interesting stories in American about race and DNA. These stories are at the heart of who we are as Americans. This project examines of few of those stories and creates art from the exploration.
When: Stereo Helix for Sally Hemings opened Feb 29th, 2012 and closed April 30th, 2012 at the Samek Art Gallery at Bucknell University. A reading from the American Cypher book in progress happened at the First Person Plural in Harlem, NY on March 5th 2012
Mendi + Keith: American Cypher will be on view at the Studio Museum in Harlem from March 28th- June 30th 2013.