NON:op's immersive platform for virtual performance
volume 1:3

Please Join Us
as we investigate alternative futures
through music, poetry, performance, and observation
A note from NON:op's founder and artistic director
Blood Lines

Welcome to NON:op's July/August issue of NON:onLINE!
As we settle into the “new normal,” we prepare for major changes in how we conduct ourselves as a society. The new normal, at least so far, seems merely to be a heightened version of the old normal; the only change is our awareness of what has always surrounded us. A pandemic rages; what differs is our response to political irresponsibility. Voices are silenced; what differs is our desire to recognize the thousands of voices silenced in decades past. Our democracy is challenged by systemic oppression, racism, and murder of black persons; by economic hardship and political degradation; by unbridled capitalism and greed; by the destruction of our environment. What differs is our desire, our commitment, to resist and to act creatively to bring about change.
In response to these multiple crises, NON:op Open Opera Works is developing multiple participatory projects that enable lost, suppressed, and neglected voices to be heard. Tentatively entitled THE MEMORY PROJECT, this initiative will encompass all that we will do for the foreseeable future. Beginning this month, and over the next three to five years, we will welcome creative contributions from you—fellow musicians, writers, artists, performers, and all who choose to create—that we will present in various online formats and in-person manifestations.
Each of these projects will focus on different aspects and unheard voices of our American experience, and each will invite different types of participation from YOU! While we develop this ambitious set of projects, we expect to make mistakes, and we ask you to hold us accountable. Each project will be allowed to develop in its own time in its own way, based on your input and participation. Then, beginning in 2021—or when we are able to be with each other again—we will present each project in one or more live, in-person, performance-based manifestations that follows from your work.
In June we introduced two participatory projects: Blood Lines – SAY THEIR NAMES, an online version of our 2019 installation in which you can say the names of those killed in the 1919 Chicago race riot or say the names of other black persons killed by law enforcement; and The Gas Heart, a video version of Tristan Tzara’s 1921 classic Dada play (a revolt against the bankrupt culture and structures of post-war Europe) that invites participants to contribute TikTok videos.
With this issue of NON:onLINE, we introduce two additional interactive projects: American Biography and L's GA: Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. American Biography is a shared digital archive dedicated to gathering diverse and unheard experiences with America; submissions may be any combination of words, sounds, or still or moving images. L’s GA: Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address asks for updated productions of and responses to Salvatore Martirano’s 1967 anti-war classic; in making your own version, you are invited to ask questions like “What masks are you forced to wear?” NON:op provides the original production materials, from which you may create your own personal response.
As we struggle through the darkness of multiple crises of our own making, I’d like to offer a message of hope and optimism. We find ourselves, according to Nicholas Kristof, at a similar juncture as when Roosevelt took office in 1932. “The result was the New Deal, Social Security, rural electrification, government jobs programs and a 35-year burst of inclusive growth that built the modern middle class...” It is because and in spite of Donald Trump and his Republican enablers that we find ourselves with a chance, just a chance, of getting something done and making real and lasting change. It is with this hope and optimism that NON:op shares multiple participatory projects that are radically inclusive, radically experimental, and radically personal. We are dedicated to interactions that provide opportunities to connect, to learn, to engage, and to collaborations that create not just art, but also permanent social, economic, and cultural change.
Find out more about L's GA and American Biography below, check out the updates to Blood Lines and The Gas Heart, and visit the NON:op website to read more about what we are doing to make positive change. We hope you and yours are safe, and we look forward to your participation as we create an alternative future.

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We are currently seeking a diverse group of readers for an online recreation of our 2019 Blood Lines installation. During this time of social distancing and cultural change we invite you to participate in this project by video recording yourself reading the name of one or more persons killed in the 1919 uprising. Readings will be combined with sound from the original long wire installation at Augustana and a video with maps, historical newspaper accounts, a timeline, and images from the live installation and the surrounding neighborhoods.
The deadline for submitting videos to this part of the project is Monday, September 14. NON:op is offering a $5 honorarium for each video reading we include in the online installation (up to 5). Visit the Blood Lines – SAY THEIR NAMES project page on our website for detailed information on participating in Blood Lines - SAY THEIR NAMES.
For the SAY THEIR NAMES component of the project we are seeking volunteers to assist Ron Browne with the development of a database of black persons killed by law enforcement since 1919. If you would like to assist Ron, please visit the Blood Lines - SAY THEIR NAMES page and click on DOCUMENTS for more information.

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L's GA: Lincoln's Gettysburg Address
concept by Salvatore Martirano
NON:op's 2017 production of L's GA featuring Sam Porretta as the gas-masked politico.


L's GA: Lincoln's Gettysburg Address
It was 1967. You don’t remember that, do you? Probably you weren’t even around then. But I was. And it is one of my memories; what I remember; part of our American Biography; part of what made us all—even you, who might not have been born—what we are.
Young men were being drafted and dying in the jungle. Young black men were dying more often. Resistance was growing. I was white, and I was safe: I had a deferment. I could watch while SDS and Black Muslims contended with each other as well as with the government. It was very confusing.
There was a concert, and Sal Martirano presented L’s GA for the first time: a composition for gas-masked politico, with helium bomb, assisted by a nurse. Lincoln’s iconic words struggled to be heard through the mask. The voice struggled to be a voice, bombed as it was by helium. American words of inspiration were turned into fascist chanting, mindless calisthenics, totalitarian mockery. And all drowned out by sound and image: love duets at 110 dB; war games played on naked bodies; thunder, drums, and death.


Masks are everywhere: masks for defense against illness, masks for defense against tear gas, masks to conceal identities. Everyone can be—everyone is compelled to be—a gas-masked politico.
Are you choosing your mask? Choosing to be safe, to be separate, to be secure? That mask enables you to breath without fear, to venture outside, to care for yourself and for others.
Or has the mask been forced upon you? To smother you, silence you, suppress your very being? That mask cares nothing for you or for others.
With some masks, words struggle to be heard: I can't breath. Be safe. Black lives matter.  With other masks, words are amplified: Be free. Make America Great. All lives matter. Nothing matters.
Lives are taken, voices suppressed: by gas, by knees, by gunshots, by chokeholds. Inspiration is replaced: by fascist tweets, lies, distortions, fakery, greed, racism, abuse, indifference.
Fifty-three years later, so much has changed. Or has it?


Make L’s GA your GA. Text, sound, and image remain; all else is mutable.
Which masks are you forced to wear? Which do you choose? What keeps you from breathing? What drowns out your voice? Who is your nurse—or oppressor?
Send us your performance, your response. What, fifty-three years from now, will be so important to you that you can write: You don’t remember that, do you? But I do . . .
  To find out more about L's GA, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and how you can contribute or interact with the project, visit the L's GA project page. In September we will issue a call for funded proposals to create your own version of or response to L's GA.

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American Biography

Our American Biography is useful knowledge for the future history we are making now.
American Biography is inspired by Gertrude Stein's American Biography: Why Waste It? in her book, Useful Knowledge.
NON:op invites you to participate in building a shared online American Biography. An open, digital archive, it is intended to grow as an ongoing, living, collection of personal histories, stories, and memories—as writings, images, videos, sound, or any combination—a place to hold individual, specific, personally-remembered experiences.
American Biography is dedicated to gathering diverse and unheard experiences with America, by people living in America, visiting America, or who are experiencing America from outside America. We are beginning the project with histories focused on experiences of missing voices—of sounds we can no longer hear.
We invite you to contribute your experience with America using one or any combination of these electronic media:
• writing
• poetry
• video
• image(s)
• audio
Whether you:
live in America
• are visiting America
• are experiencing America from outside America
Begin with what you remember:
What have you not heard?
What voices—whose voices—have you not heard?
Whose voices did you not hear?
Whose voices did you missing hearing?
Whose voices could you not hear?
With your permission, we will publish your work as an addition to American Biography.
Individual contributions will be independently displayed and available for viewers to experience as independent items. Altogether they will form an evolving, collective, dynamic virtual mosaic, displayed, as it grows, on NON:op’s American Biography website.
Want to contribute your American Experience, or do you have questions American Biography? Please contact: ann [at] nonopera [dot] org
Read more of Gertrude Stein’s words about listening: “they do not listen to hear” in American Biography: Why Waste It? on page 166 of her book Useful Knowledge.
Our American Biography is useful knowledge for the future history we are making now.

•  •  •


The Gas Heart
Tangerine and white from Spain
I'm killing myself Madeleine, Madeleine.
Your play is quite charming, but no one can understand any of it.
The Gas Heart invites your participation with short TikTok videos. Tristan Tzara's 1921 three-act Dada play resists both the art and conventions of theater AND the bankrupt culture and society in post-war Europe. With Trump and his enablers—the ultimate bankrupt grifters—in charge, The Gas Heart is once again relevant. One can easily imagine these banalities coming from our commander in chief: "I have an American hairdo." "Your daughter is quite charming." "Do you care for sports?" "You know, of course, that I own a garage."
Here's where you come in... Do you TikTok? We do!!
In this time of political depravity, you are invited to submit TikTok videos for our Gas Heart video production. We will post six videos—two per act—on TikTok (search for nonopera) and on YouTube (links are on our website). Consider submitting a video an act of resistance, a political statement, your American duty.
The deadline for submitting videos is October 1.
In exchange for your participation in The Gas Heart, you will receive a $45 honorarium for every video we include in the final video (up to two). You may choose to receive the money yourself, or you may opt to donate the money back to NON:op to support this and other participatory programs, or you may ask NON:op to donate your honorarium to Black Lives Matter.

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[ NEWS ]

Illinois Humanities recently awarded NON:op a CARES Act Emergency Relief Grant for general operating support. Illinois Humanities activates the humanities through free public programs, grants, and educational opportunities that foster reflection, spark conversation, build community, and strengthen civic engagement. Illinois Humanities is a nonprofit organization and the state’s affiliate for the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Welcome NON:op's social media assistant, Jahan Nolley.
Jahan R. Nolley is a composer of concert music, whose work aims to explore the vital role of human connection in the performance of live music by closely studying the limits set by the barriers between audience, performer, instrument, and composer. She is an Iranian-American trans woman who is deeply invested in fostering the connection between the art world and the public. Jahan believes that the best way to accomplish this goal is to create opportunities for the public to engage directly with the art and for those opportunities to be tied to social, environmental, and political issues that audiences are facing in their lives. She received a BFA in Music Composition from the California Institute of the Arts and an MM in Applied Music Theory from the Norwegian Academy of Music, between which she taught music theory and composition at a variety of community initiatives both in Chicago and in northern Iceland.

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Part Time Opportunity
Web Developer/Designer – NON:op is seeking a web designer to take our website to the next level. The Web Designer will work with the Social Media assistant to integrate Social Media and email platforms with our NON:onLINE immersive platform for virtual performance. Qualified applicants will have proficiency in video hosting, live streaming, online interactivity, and Zoom, and they will have demonstrated organization skills, the ability to manage multiple projects, a willingness to take direction and the technical ability to create a website that supports NON:op’s vision and goals. Please contact non [at] nonopera [dot] org to be considered for this position.

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Board and Artist Opportunities
Do you support NON:op's mission? Do you enjoy immersive performances that are fun AND intellectually challenging? Want to become more involved? Join our board and artist team as we build a more diverse and nimble organization to respond to these critical times. Please contact Christophe at non [at] nonopera [dot] org for more information.

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SUPPORT NON:op by purchasing HPSCHD@50 merch!

Also available are Musicircus T-Shirts, John Cage CDs, HPSCHD@50 buttons, and souvenir programs. Click here to order and support NON:op and its artists.
Thank you for taking care of each other by staying indoors and practicing social distancing.
We hope you and yours are well and staying safe as we create an alternative future.
Christophe, Ann, Bill, Theo, Joshua, Saba, and the rest of NON:op's Artists and Board of Directors
If you are able to support NON:op's artists and mission, please donate today.
All donations are tax deductible. Thank you.  
Copyright © 2020 NON:op Open Opera Works, All rights reserved.

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