[Air-l] July on -empyre-: Net Blackness with Mendi + Keith Obadike and damali ayo

Michael Arnold Mages marnoldm at du.edu
Fri Jul 4 23:36:03 PDT 2003

-empyre- takes great pleasure in welcoming three artists whose work explores
the politics of race and identity.

The plasticity of identity over the internet is a well known phenomenon.
Internet utopians exalt in a genderless, colorless society that is available
only though a digital medium. However, race remains a inextricably formative
part of identity, and plays a central, contextualizing role in the nature of
communication and social discourse.

In the zealous search for terrorists, racial profiling has become a tool of
US security agencies, and more palatable to that nation's population.  Skin
color has again become an acceptable way to identify those that may pose a
threat to the hegemonic culture.  Increasingly, the questions that surround
stereotyped or commodified portrayals of race and ethnicity require
satisfactory answers.

Please join us at -empyre- for the month of July, to participate in the
discussion where artists Mendi and Keith Obadike, and damali ayo explore and
debate these issues.


Mendi and Keith Obadike are interdisciplinary artists working with
music, live art, and conceptual internet artworks. Their works conduct
inquiry into the implications of social and cultural networks as relates
to blackness. Other areas of exploration include sex toys, current events,
and commodification of race and identity. In August of 2002, they
exhibited The Interaction of Coloreds, commissioned by the Whitney Museum
of American Art. At Yale University Mendi and Keith premiered their
Internet opera The Sour Thunder, which was commissioned by the Yale
Cabaret and will be released on CD by the classical music label Bridge

The Interaction of Coloreds

Blackness for Sale

The Sour Thunder

damali ayo is a self-described junk artist--defining junk as "things
we once bought (or bought into) and keep around because we are accustomed to
their presence." Working from her studio in Portland, Oregon, ayo uses
installation, assemblage, sound, paint, fabric whatever it takes to
investigate concepts that engage her curiosity as well as social and
community issues in the US. Her most recent online work,
is a performance work enabled by the internet.

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