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

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

Welcome to the February 2022 issue of NON:onLINE!
table of contents
Letting Our 2022 Season Out of the Box!
by Christophe Preissing
Happy 2022!!
Okay, so I know I'm two months late and we've all said it way too many times.
I hope your 2022 is off to a good start...
Hmmm, when this newsletter hits your inbox, it will be the beginning of the third month of 2022. If it hasn't started by now, when will it? Or will it ever start?
As we enter this third year of the pandemic—never thought I'd write that—and now with a war raging in Eastern Europe, will things ever get back to the way they were?? The short answer is no. The longer answer is whether we want life to be the way it was before the pandemic, before George Floyd, before Brianna Taylor, before global warming, before anger and hatred, before the invasion of Ukraine, before the previous (p)resident of the white house? Business as usual, politics as usual, economics as usual, corporate greed and pollution and usual, racism and homophobia as usual, cold war arms race as usual, police brutality as usual?
What do WE want when the pandemic is over? The way it was before? Can we return to the way it was before? What is normal? Just the usual? Can we envision a usual that is not the usual?

What do We Want When the pandemic is over?

In 2022 the usual for NON:op Open Opera Works is engaging with various communities with participatory projects and commissioning artists of color and artists with disabilities. Because we are in our third year of the pandemic, 2022 brings another iteration of Viral Silence: Community Portraits in Response to Covid-19. This year's commissioned artists are JoVia Armstrong with St Martin's Episcopal Church in Chicago's Austin neighborhood, X with Cahokia Mounds and Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville's Fuller Dome, and Eddie Breitweiser with pt.fwd and the McLean County Museum of History. The usual for NON:op is HB4, the fourth iteration of our HEAR BELOW: My Pedway Soundwalk and collaboration with Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology. The 2022 edition takes place in March and was created by teaching artist Andy Slater and our new HEAR BELOW intern, Jeanette Dominguez. In October we will have our fifth Aural Architecture/Aural Neighborhoods community partnership with Chicago Architecture Center and Open House Chicago.
This summer, I will premiere a new work for twelve voices at a memorial service for Keith Cooper. Commissioned by Nancy Goede, pastor at Augustana Lutheran Church of Hyde Park, and with funding from an Illinois Arts Council Individual Artist Support grant, memoria de memoria remembers Keith and the 785 other Chicagoans who were violently killed in 2021. Later in the fall, we are planning to present three  commissioned responses to L'sGA : Lincoln's Gettysburg Address by Kao Ra Zen, A J McClennon, and Kameron Locke. Look for news on this exciting project that we are planning for Chicago, Champaign-Urbana, and Springfield to coincide with the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. We are also planning a public event and fundraiser in Hyde Park to support our SAY THEIR NAMES program. This event will feature a demonstration of our new interactive map remembering Black Americans killed by law enforcement.

NON:op Invites YOU to Join Our Board!

With this issue of NON:onLINE, we bid a farewell to Bill Brooks, NON:op's longest serving Board member. Join me in thanking him for his service, for his energy and creative ideas, for his service as a writer, curmudgeon, and for everything he has donated to NON:op over the past several years. Through his tireless efforts NON:op is the organization that we are now. We are actively seeking new Board members who support our mission, and we realize his shoes will be hard to fill. At the same time we welcome sound designer, composer, and producer, Jeanette Dominguez, as an intern with our HEAR BELOW program. She has already made an invaluable contribution to NON:op and I encourage you to sign up for one of her small-group guided HEAR BELOW soundwalks.
NON:op Open Opera Works invites you to imagine a usual that is NOT the usual, a new usual that is inclusive, generous, and inviting, a usual that is participatory and that engages people we do not know. It's not enough to welcome difference into our USUAL comfortable spaces. It's time to actively seek difference, to engage with different communities, to go to spaces that make us uncomfortable, to be comfortable being uncomfortable. In the last issue of NON:onLINE, Bill Brooks wrote, "Imagine that we can understand ourselves without having to create an “other.” Imagine that normality is so inclusive that there’s nothing left to be “abnormal.” Imagine that the new embraces the familiar, that the stale becomes fresh, that the unimaginable can be imagined, and that the unusual becomes usual."

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To find out more about our program initiatives and how to participate,
please visit our website.
To make a donation to NON:op Open Opera Works,
please visit the SUPPORT page on our website.
If you believe in the work we are doing and would like to donate your time or expertise,
or if you would like to discuss joining our Board, please contact Christophe at non [at] nonopera [dot] org.

[ PARTICPATE ] HEAR BELOW: My Pedway Soundwalk 2022

Three people in a stairwell in the Chicago Pedway looking up.
Self- / Small-Group Guided Soundwalks in Chicago's Pedway System
March 2022 with Guided Soundwalks throughout the Month
Register for a FREE Guided Soundwalk HERE
NON:op Open Opera Works and Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology are pleased to announce our fourth annual HEAR BELOW: My Pedway Soundwalk, small-group and self-guided soundwalks through the sounding space of Chicago's Pedway system. This year's Covid-conscious installment takes place in March and invites YOU to rediscover the act of listening and to share your personal soundwalk experience with the world.
What do YOU hear? Use your smartphone or digital recording device to make recordings of your soundwalk, your own sonic points of interest, or your favorite sounds. Record video, take photos, and make your own personal observations. Share them with us through the Google form available on the Hear Below tools page on our website. At the end of March we will begin to compile your recordings, images, and descriptions and include them in a radio documentary or podcast to be broadcast later this spring.
My Pedway Soundwalk is an invitation to discover what listening means to YOU in these unusual sonic spaces and to share your experiences with the world. This year's East-West route features the Pedway's newly opened segment under the Chicago Cultural Center and if you visit during the week, you can walk all the way to the State of Illinois Building without leaving the Pedway!
Don't want to go by yourself? Register for one of our small-group guided soundwalks led by teaching artists and Hear Below soundwalk designers.
For more information, tools and materials, or to sign up for a soundwalk visit the
Hear Below page on our website or check out NON:op's Facebook page.

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[ INTERACT ] Viral Silence 2022

Viral Silence: Community Portraits in Response to Covid-19  is a statewide collaborative community commissioning and virtual touring program that captures local experiences and responses to Covid-19. Three commissioned Illinois artists/teams are working with and within their communities—collecting sound, poetry, interviews and conducting workshops—to create original audio/performance works that will be presented within the communities and live-streamed across the state. The project’s participatory processes and resulting portraits help to heal and bind communities around memory, loss, and rediscovery.
This second year of programming partners three new artists with three new Illinois communities: Eddie Breitweiser with pt.fwd (a Bloomington-Normal based independent non-profit program that presents arts and cultural programming by local artists) and the McLean County Museum of History; X, an indigenous futurist, multidisciplinary artist and architect specializing in land, architectural, and new media installation, with Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site and the Fuller Dome at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, and JoVia Armstrong, composer and sound artist, with Saint Martin's Episcopal Church and Chicago's Austin neighborhood.
Viral Silence 2022 Commissioned Artists (left to right): Eddie Breitweiser, X, JoVia Armstrong
Viral Silence: Community Portraits in Response to Covid-19
June 2022
McLean County Museum of History
The Fuller Dome, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
Saint Martins Episcopal Church in Chicago's Austin Neighborhood
For more information visit our Viral Silence webpage on our website.

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Viral Silence is supported by

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Remembering Black Americans Killed by Police Violence

SAY THEIR NAMES: Remembering Black Americans Killed by Police Violence
SAY THEIR NAMES is an ongoing research and mapping project intended to identify, locate, and remember Black Americans killed by police since 1919. It is designed with an open-ended timeline to permit several successive years of research, the development of an interactive map, and the accumulation of community contributions. This map is truly a participatory and interactive project. In the coming months and years, as we continue to accumulate research data and develop the online interactive map, we will add the capability to submit data through an online form on the map.
Over the past year we received direct project support from an Illinois Humanities Action Grant and from the Hyde Park and Kenwood Interfaith Council to continue developing SAY THEIR NAMES. With this support, as well as general operating support from the Illinois Arts Council Agency and Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, we are continuing this important research and developing a new database and map.
We continue to work with Ting Lui, Northeastern Illinois University GIS faculty and advisor, interns and volunteers from NEIU and Northwestern University, and paid researchers, including Ronald Browne, Omid Nolley, and Robert Strzok. The STN team is lead by Board Member, Saba Ayman-Nolley.
Please contact us at if you have any information to add to any of the Black Americans killed by police currently on the map, or with additional names that should be included on the map. You may also fill out a form on our website HERE. To find out more about SAY THEIR NAMES, including research methodology, current and past researchers, and how you can participate, please visit our SAY THEIR NAMES webpage.
To support SAY THEIR NAMES and make a donation to NON:op Open Opera Works,
visit the SUPPORT page on our website.
On the Cusp
Thank You to Our Funders
Robert H. and Terri L. Cohn Family Foundation
For the third 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
Thank you to the Illinois Arts Council Agency for their second year of Artstour support of our Viral Silence: Community Portraits in Response to Covid-19 project. Arts Tour funding pays three artists/teams to create and present work in partnership with local communities in Bloomington-Normal, Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site/Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and Chicago's Austin neighborhood. The in person and virtual tour will take place in June.
Illinois Humanities
NON:op received an Action Grant from Illinois Humanities to support our SAY THEIR NAMES Project. This funding allows us to continue this important research and support the development of a new database and map.
Hyde Park and Kenwood Interfaith Council
A big thank you to the Hyde Park and Kenwood Interfaith Council for their support of our SAY THEIR NAMES Project. Our partnership with HPKIC will support community outreach.

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Board Member, Volunteer, Intern, and Other Opportunities
NON:op is seeking board members, volunteers, interns, participants, assistants, artists, and all who have creative ideas and who would like to work with NON:op to implement a shared vision. Please contact Christophe at 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, staff, 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.  
Copyright © 2022 NON:op Open Opera Works, All rights reserved.

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