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|Welcome to the March-April 2021 issue of NON:onLINE!
by NON:op member William Brooks
Did you get your jab?
. . . So, your first—or second? . . . Yup, it was Moderna for me . . .
Well . . . No, not right away . . . Well, the truth is that I don’t
trust other people . . . Yes, exactly. . . . What we really need is a
vaccine against bigotry . . .
prevention of bigotry. The ultimate goal for the human race, the
purpose of all philosophy, religion, ethics. Preventing bigotry: that’s
culture at work. Art—opera, for example—is what we need. How can anyone who has seen Parsifal ever be a bigot?
How can anyone who has seen Parsifal ever NOT be a bigot? It’s not Parsifal’s
fault, mind you; I’m not going to claim that good or evil is intrinsic
to anything we might call “art.” But—like everything—art is all about
what we do with things. And “art,” mostly, leads people to do bigoted things.
If you want to have a snowball fight,
there’s nothing as good and beautiful as a sphere.
Let’s draw a distinction here. In the introduction to Consequences of Pragmatism,
Rorty distinguishes between “Philosophy” and “philosophy.” The former,
with an upper-case “P,” designates the act of “asking questions about . .
. normative notions . . . in the hope of better obeying such norms.”
Thus, for example, one might want to know what Beauty is (note the
upper-case), because once one knows that, one can choose only to
associate with the Beautiful. In fact, Rorty says, if you ask that kind
of question, you are obliged to associate only with the Beautiful; your purpose, remember, is to obey
the norms you’ve found. This is the source of evil, really: you commit a
sin if you knowingly act contrary to the Good, or to Truth, or to
“philosophy” with a lower-case “p” is something different. For a
philosopher (a lower-case being), Truth, Beauty, Good are not
discoverable. They’re not things we should worry about. The words are
useful, but only in the lower-case form—truth, beauty, and good—by which
they all designate various modes of benevolent behaviors. Something is
true, or beautiful, or good, if it can be used to improve the conditions
for humankind. And when conditions change, so must the designation of
things. A cube is good, even beautiful—if what’s needed is a wall. But
if you want to have a snowball fight, there’s nothing as good and
beautiful as a sphere.
. . . art is all about what we do with things.
And “art,” mostly, leads people to do bigoted things.
So . . . we might have Art, and we might have art. We might have Opera, and we might have opera. We might even have Parsifal and parsifal.
In the first of these cases, we make the object the repository of
eternal value—but in order to do that, we have to assume that conditions
will not change. In the second case, we forget about eternal value and agree that conditions will change. Maybe we even assert that conditions must change. Otherwise, we could observe, people will die—a lot of them.
problem is that the distinction between Opera and opera is typographic.
I can’t speak the words alone and make the distinction clear; I need to
say “Opera-with-an-upper-case-O” or something equally graceless. So we
need a new term for “opera-with-a-lower-case-o”.
How about NON:opera? Or NON:op for short?
you get the tonic? . . . Was that your first glass—or second? . . .
Yup, it was Viral Silence for me . . . Well . . . Sure, right now . . .
Well, the truth is that we have to get on with things . . . Yes,
exactly. . . . What we really need is something that helps ward off
bigotry . . . Yes, NON:op . . . I feel better already . . .
• • •
To make a donation to NON:op Open Opera Works, visit the SUPPORT page on our website.
To find out more about our program initiatives and how to participate,
please visit our website.
|Live Stream your HEAR BELOW soundwalk to the world! For a third consecutive year, NON:op Open Opera Works and Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology
team up to offer HEAR BELOW: a subterranean, site-specific soundwalk
through Chicago’s Pedway system. This year’s COVID-conscious,
self-guided installment of HEAR BELOW: My Pedway Soundwalk invites YOU
to rediscover the act of listening and to share your experiences using
audio, video, still images and text.
My Pedway Soundwalk
will provide simple tools and inspiration to create your own soundwalk,
as well as a platform for sharing your experience. In addition, you can
share your personal soundwalk in real time, live streaming it to the
world on April 17-18 with custom hardware and software tools designed
specifically for HEAR BELOW.
[ INTERACT ] Viral Silence – Individual Project Updates
It’s been a long, difficult year, and as we enter the second year of the pandemic, our three commissioned Viral Silence
artists/teams have been busy working within their communities and
creating their responses to Covid-19. Below are a few updates to Viral
Silence that the artists would like to share.
part of their community collaboration, artists Jay Needham and Honna
Veerkamp presented a workshop on April 1 hosted by the Department of
Radio, Television, and Digital media at Southern Illinois University,
Carbondale. 19 undergraduate students from Creative Writing and Sound
Art classes attended live, and seven additional students attended via
Zoom. The artists talked with participants about Viral Silence and the
ways that their project, Adaptive Response, fuses the social practice of
interviewing and listening with live musical performance and
micro-radio transmission. The group shared their experiences of the
pandemic in an open conversation, and participants were invited to
record individually on their own or with one of the artists. Twelve
students recorded their stories, and all preferred to record them in
conversation with the artists. These recordings will be incorporated
into Adaptive Response and archived on the project’s web page.
• • •
has been working with Kweli Kwaza, president of club 21 (21st ward)
Block club in Auburn Gresham and cultivating the community garden
located at 86th and Loomis. On Saturday, April 24, Allen will present a
concert-length performance at the McLean County Museum of History in Bloomington, Illinois. The performance, presented by pt.fwd,
a non-profit that organizes contemporary music and sonic arts
performances, draws upon materials from the Museum’s Bloomington Normal
Black History Project.
Similar to his Viral Silence
commission, Allen will facilitate a hands-on virtual workshop about DIY
music creation. Moore will share background about his use of
experimental media in the fight against anti-Blackness, will teach how
to use cutting-edge digital tools, and will instruct how to build your
own simple record player. All participants will construct a record
player to create and listen to music.
• • •
Champaign County March 2020 and Counting combines a 52-minute video documentary of performance recorded specifically for Viral Silence
with archival material from the past year, live commentary and
interviews, and live performances from some of the cast members. Keith
and Ibrahim (Vision and Voice Amplified through Media!) will conduct
three recording sessions—April 24, May 8, and May 15—at the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center.
guests range from Will Reger and Ashanti Files, Urbana’s first two poet
laureates, to the Writer’s Oya, a group of young poets of color, to a
father and son hip hop duo, and to community members like Aaron “A+”
Wilson, who is poet, musician, and host of the renowned community poetry
slam “Soul on Sunday.” Wilson’s appearance is suggestive of the
documentary’s range, as we see him reading new work, discussing his
personal life and appearances on the show, and reflecting on his own
efforts to reestablish his monthly poetry slam online.
• • •
Join "Sounds Like Community" on July 7 at 7pm, for a moderated Viral Silence
wrap up program and presentation. All three commissioned artists will
be present (in person or online) to showcase excerpts from their
projects and to discuss their communities’ response to Covid-19.
• • •
To find out more about Viral Silence, the commissioned artists, and projects, please visit the Viral Silence page.
This program is partially supported by a grant
from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.
Donate to NON:op in 2021 and support Viral Silence's commissioned artists and projects.
NON [ NEWS ]
The Gas Heart – Act 1 with TikToks is LIVE!
The Gas Heart Act 1 with TikTok videos by Kyle Gregory Price is now live on our website and YouTube. Please subscribe to our YouTube channel and help us reach 100 subscribers.
• • •
Blood Lines – Online Video Release May 21st
Join us on May 21st for the release of our online video production of Blood Lines: remembering the 1919 Chicago race riot.
Featuring video by Ilse Miller, 38 video readings by you, our
participants, sound by Christophe Preissing, and direction and editing
by Theo Economides. Visit the Blood Lines page to find out more.
• • •
Thank You to Our Funders
Robert H. and Terri L. Cohn Family Foundation
For the second year in a row, NON:op Open Opera Works has received significant support from the Robert H. and Terri L. Cohn Family Foundation.
We thank them for their generous donation during these difficult times.
Because of funders like the Cohn Family Foundation, NON:op can continue
to produce engaging, participatory, online experiences that expand the
meaning of arts and humanities and provide opportunities for all persons
to participate in the arts.
Illinois Arts Council Agency
A big thank you to the Illinois Arts Council Agency for their support of our Viral Silence: Community Portraits in Response to Covid-19
project with an Arts Tour project support grant. Arts Tour funding will
pay three artists/teams to create and present work in partnership with
local communities in Auburn Gresham, Urbana, and Carbondale Illinois.
The virtual tour will take place in all three locations during the month
• • •
seeking volunteers, interns, participants, assistants, artists, and all
who have creative ideas and who would like to work with NON:op to
implement our vision. Please contact Christophe non [at] nonopera [dot] org if you would like to find out more and join us as we create an alternative future.
• • •
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 work to create an alternative future.
SHARE. INTERACT. COLLABORATE.
Christophe, Bill, Yolanda, Theo, Saba, and all of NON:op's creatives, volunteers, and interns
NON:op is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Please consider supporting NON:op's program initiatives, creatives, and mission with a donation today.
All donations are tax deductible according to federal guidelines. Thank you.