NON:op's immersive platform for virtual performance and participation
volume 2:2

Please Join Us
as we investigate alternative futures
through music, poetry, performance, and observation


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Welcome to the March-April 2021 issue of NON:onLINE!
table of contents
Get Vaccinated!
Get Vaccinated!
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 . . .
The 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 Beauty.
But “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.
The 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?
Did 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 . . .

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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.

[ PARTICIPATE ] HEAR BELOW 2021 - Live Stream Your Soundwalk!

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.
HEAR BELOW 2021My 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.
HEAR BELOW 2021 will take place throughout the month of April. Materials are now available on the NON:op website. And sign up for live stream your soundwalk on April 17 or 18 HERE! Learn more at our HEAR BELOW page on our website, and revisit last year’s installment with a report by Newcity Stage editor Sharon Hoyer.

[ 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.
Adaptive Response – micro-FM transmission and live performance
Honna Veerkamp and Jay Needham with Carbondale Community Arts
June 12, 2021, Carbondale Community Arts Parking Lot
As 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.

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Ground/Work – DJ set with words and sounds from the community garden
Allen Moore with Kweli Kwaza and the Auburn Gresham 21st Ward
June 19, 2021, Block Club 21 Community Garden
Allen 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.

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Champaign County March 2020 and Counting
Champaign County March 2020 and Counting
Sounds Like Community as a Response to COVID-19

Keith Moore and Bourema "Ibrahim" Ouedraogo with Champaign County Youth
and the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center
June 30, 2021, Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center
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.
Documentary 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.

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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.

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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.


The Gas Heart – Act 1 with TikToks is LIVE!
The Gas Heart Act 1
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.

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Blood Lines – Online Video Release May 21st
Blood Lines online video
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.

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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 of June.

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NON:op is 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.

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SUPPORT NON:op by purchasing HPSCHD@50 merch!
Donate to NON:op
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.
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.
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Copyright © 2021 NON:op Open Opera Works, All rights reserved.

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NON:op Open Opera Works
2419 N Drake Ave, Floor 1
Chicago, IL 60647