NON:op's immersive platform for virtual performance and participation
volume 3:4

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

Welcome to the August 2022 issue of NON:onLINE!
Listening to Living Fossils
Amanda Love
Ihave visited a collection of Metasequoia glyptostroboides or the Dawn Redwood trees more than 500 times over the last three years. I was introduced to the species while I was the artist-in-residence at The Dawes Arboretum, Newark OH (fall 2019-spring 2020). Dawes is home to one of the largest living ex situ conservation collections of documented, wild-origin Dawn Redwoods outside of China.
My first visit to the Dawes collection was in early October 2019 with the director of Living Collections, Greg Payton. He shared the story of how these prehistoric trees came to be in the arboretum’s collection. I was immediately intrigued by their evolution. The earliest fossils date to over 150 million years. I was curious about how the American and Chinese biologists worked together to strengthen the species with different conservation efforts. Mostly, I was captivated by the characteristics of the trees themselves and began to walk amongst them daily. Greg had promised that fall was the season to see the most “action.” He was right. For three years, I returned weekly and often daily to document the changes that occurred. I was on heightened alert to unusual weather patterns—fog, snow, rain—as well as different times of the day because that was when the light and shadows were most dramatic. I created a visual system to capture images from two vantage points during each visit. I also have photo-documentation of the ground, branches, fern-like needles and bark.

What I saw and felt was a family.

Over time, with regular visits, I became attuned to the trees so much so that I began to recognize differences in individual trees. The Dawes collection numbered over 290 Dawn Redwoods during my time as artist-in-residence. What I saw and felt was a family, with all the similarities of cousins, sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles. I subsequently learned that there are in fact 53 different families or genetic samplings in this plantation of trees. I witnessed the trees reaching out to other trees that was close by, their branches touching, perhaps communicating. During late spring through fall, the sounds were muffled by the fluffy, fern-like needles and branches. During the winter I could hear sounds from other fields, trees, sounds traveling fast through the skeletons of trees.

a moment frozen in time
but you know the sound, the smell, the view

The sound under foot is fascinating, layers of seasonal falling needles that are decomposing into a soft carpet softened the sound of footsteps. The smell of the plantation would change dramatically with the seasons and sometimes more frequently based on the level of rainfall. One can smell the needles on the ground. Summer is dry. Spring is wet, lush and bright. Fall transitions slowly into a dank, dead smell and winter was crisp—but no sound from the ground. The call of the birds or a wrestling of a small animal is the loudest, sound making encounter. By comparison to the quiet, the wild life can be loud. Early spring 2021, I walked towards the west side of the plantation of trees. It was a wet morning, having stormed the night before. I noticed that one of the trees had been hit by lighting. There was a violent scattering of branches in the neighboring trees—an explosion held in space. There was no sound of the explosion but as I stood there to take it all in I could hear the crack and shatter by observing the dismantled branches suspended in space. It reminded me of a Cornelia Parker installation—a moment frozen in time but you know the sound, the smell, the view.
Whether we walk with intention down avenues of stately trees or monolithic buildings, we are surrounded by layers of sounds. Tuning in to the soundscape evokes a multitude of personal and cultural memories.  A soundwalk in an urban park like Douglass Park in a western neighborhood Chicago offers a lush mix of urban and natural sounds. These walks focused on sound create a connection to a space, to our past experiences, and connect us via a shared experience. 
Tree Time and Silos will be exhibited in public spaces in Central Ohio Oct 22-April 23, 2023

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Sound and Memory: A Soundwalk in Douglass Park
with Marvin Tate and Christophe Preissing
Friday, August 5, 2022, 6–8pm
Anna and Frederick Douglass Park
1401 S Sacramento Dr, Chicago, IL 60623

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To make a donation to support this work
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.

NON:op is growing, and like many organizations coming out of the pandemic, we are growing with projects, installations, and performances. It's quite an exciting time for us! Are you savvy about one or more aspects of running a non-profit? Join our board of directors. Do you have a passion for planning engaging events and projects? Join our programming committee. In addition to volunteering and collaborating with us (contact Christophe at non [at] nonopera [dot] org for more information), the following openings are available:
Marketing and Administrative Assistant Positions

Working with the Artistic Director and Project Leaders, the Marketing and Administrative Assistants will be responsible for marketing, communication, and administrative tasks in support of programming, engagement, and development initiatives within the larger artistic and geographic community. The ideal candidates support NON:op's vision, are passionate about the arts and social justice, and have excellent organizational and communication skills.
To find out more about NON:op Open Opera Works and our initiatives visit our WEBSITE. The full job description is available HERE. To apply send your resume/cv, a cover letter summarizing your experience and how your interests intersect with NON:op's vision, and names and contact information for two references to non [at] nonopera [dot] org.

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Governing and Programming Board Positions
Do you believe in the work we are doing? If so, please contact non [at] nonopera [dot] org to find out how you can support NON:op as a Board member. NON:op is seeking creative, passionate, and inspired individuals to join our board of directors in one of the following roles:
Programming Committee
The programming committee meets monthly with the artistic director and is responsible for supporting current programming and devising and producing future programming and events.

Governing Committee
The governing committee is responsible for finances, governance, and legal matters in support of the organization and its programming. The governing committee meets once per quarter and is joined by members of the programming committee.

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[ JOIN US FRIDAY ] Sound and Memory Soundwalk

Douglass Park Soundwalk with Marvin Tate and Christophe Preissing

Friday, August 5, 2022, 6–8pm
Anna and Frederick Douglass Park
1401 S Sacramento Dr, Chicago, IL 60623
[meet in front of the community center next to the pool]
Click for more information.

Did you grow up around Douglass Park? Are you new to the neighborhood? What do you hear? What do you remember? What is the sound of memory? Does memory conjure sound or sound evoke memory?

Join North Lawndale childhood resident Marvin Tate (musician, artist, poet) and Christophe Preissing (sound composer and NON:op's artistic director) for a soundwalk reflecting on the history of Douglass Park. How has the sound of the park—and the neighborhood—changed, and how has it remaed the same? Listen and share your memories of Douglass Park with other soundwalkers.
The Sound of Memory is one of a series of Soundwalks produced by the Midwest Society of Acoustic Ecology for the Chicago Park District's annual Night Out in the Parks program. For more information visit the MSAE website.
For disability accommodations, contact Christophe at non [at] nonopera [dot] org. The Sound and Memory soundwalk is wheelchair accessible and will have seating mobility assistance. The route is about 7/10 of a mile and will take about an hour. Dress for walking in temperatures in the high 70's. Cold water will be provided.

[ SAVE THE MONTH ] Aural Neighborhoods

Join teaching artists Veronica Anne Salinas and Jeanette Dominguez
in our third comparative neighborhood soundwalks

North Lawndale and the Near West Side
October 1–31, 2022

A Collaboration with Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology
and Chicago Architecture Center
The economic disparities between different Chicago neighborhoods have been clearly identified and publicly displayed in community activist and photographer Tonika Johnson’s Folded Map Project. From the perspective of sound and the field of acoustics, are these inequalities also apparent? For example, is the soundscape different in Lincoln Park vs Englewood; Austin vs the Gold Coast? Aural Neighborhoods asks visitors to consider the unique architectural and sonic characteristics of different Chicago neighborhoods. How are they the same, different, and why? Does economic investment/de-investment affect the sound of a neighborhood? What are the sonic impacts of economics on different neighborhoods?
This year, Aural Neighborhoods invites participants to use listening practices and field recording techniques to explore and compare the neighborhood and architectural environments in North Lawndale and the Near West Side. Guided and self-guided Sound Trails—curated and led by local sound artists Jeanette Dominguez and Veronica Anne Salinas—will be available throughout October, with tools and materials on how to listen and what to listen for available on the OHC2022 app and the NON:op website. The app uses geolocation to connect participants with sonic points of interest—including images, photos, and history. Additional information on the teaching artists, sonic points of interest, background, and how to document and share your experience will be available on the NON:op website.
Additionally, NON:op and MSAE are developing an Aural Neighborhoods community archive to document the sonic characteristics of different Chicago neighborhoods. We will encourage participants to document and share their soundwalk experience and their favorite sound or place with recordings, words, and images. In this way, both in-person and online visitors may engage with the neighborhoods while learning about and listening to the shifting sonic features shaping the North Lawndale and Near West Side Chicago neighborhoods.
For more information visit the Aural Neighborhoods page on our website.

[ WATCH ] Memoria de Memoria at Burning Man & Live Stream

Memorial Performance for Keith Cooper
and Chicago's nearly 800 homicide victims in 2021

Memoria de Memoria by Christophe Preissing
featuring The Adrian Dunn Singers
Saturday, July 23, 7pm
Augustana Lutheran Church of Hyde Park
5500 S Woodlawn Ave, Chicago 60608

Memoria de Memoria, or Memory of the Heart, is an hour-long meditative composition for twelve voices that remembers Keith Cooper and the other nearly 800 persons killed in Chicago in 2021. The performance features The Adrian Dunn Singers, who sing the text “memoria de memoria” and speak the names of all 793 homicide victims. As a meditation, audience members are encouraged to come and go during the performance, to light memorial candles, or to call out the name of a family member or friend who they wish to remember.
Jim Schwab, an audience member, wrote about his experience of the performance:
At first, the music was minimal or even silent. Voices from the twelve-member Adrian Dunn Singers, spread across the back and sides of the sanctuary of Augustana Lutheran Church of Hyde Park, simply announced a date in 2021, beginning on January 1, followed by the names of specific homicide victims of that day, mostly of gun violence. Steadily, they moved through the calendar year, each ten seconds in the score representing one day. ... The weeks and months rolled by with the haunting music steadily asserting itself, but it was not lyrical. It sounded incantational, voices from the throat at various pitches as particular singers chimed in, based on troubadour melodies.
This music induced, as my wife noted, meditative moods, or in my case, a growing and palpable sense of the waves of humanity slaughtered on the city’s streets and elsewhere … For me, it was beyond a feeling of grief; it was an emotion that encompassed a profound sense of the waste of human lives, many of which never had the opportunity to contribute their talents to the city or our nation—just this gulf between what could have been and what we have become.
To read all of Jim Schwab’s review, visit his blog.
To watch the complete recording of the live-stream, click HERE.
Big thank you to all of the hard work by Adrian Dunn, The Adrian Dunn Singers, and conductor Ahmed Al Abaca. Look for information on the next performance of Memoria de Memoria at this year's Burning Man.

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This performance was supported in part by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.
To make a donation to support this work please visit the SUPPORT page on our website.

[ EXPERIENCES ] Viral Silence: Portal

PORTAL is a geolocated augmented reality soundscape app, that enables participants to activate sound fields and visual poetics, that can be experienced during a specific window of time via smartphones. For more information visit the PORTAL webpage.
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. This second year of programming partners three new artists and Illinois communities: JoVia Armstrong in collaboration with Stephan Moore, composers and sound artists, with Chicago's Austin Neighborhood and Saint Martin's Episcopal Church;  Edward Breitweiser with pt.fwd and the McLean County Museum of History; and X, indigenous futurist, multidisciplinary artist and architect specializing in land, architectural, and new media installation, to create a geolocated augmented reality soundscape app.
Creative artists and the cultural sector have been especially adversely affected economically by the pandemic. Viral Silence strives to address the needs of these accomplished individual artists and offers hope and support to a wide and diverse audience of viewers who mourn the closure cultural and performance institutions. The project's participatory processes and resulting portraits help to heal and bind communities around memory, loss, and rediscovery.
Eddie Breitweiser
Viral Silence 2022 Commissioned Artists (left to right): Edward Breitweiser, X, JoVia Armstrong
Free Public Programming Calendar

Trap and Release – May 22, 2022, 1pm
JoVia Armstrong and Stephan Moore
Saint Martin's Episcopal Church, 5710 W Midway Park, Chicago
Live Stream: Experimental Sound Studio

Six Words – June 24, 2022, 7pm
Edward Breitweiser
McLean County Museum of History, 200 N Main Street, Bloomington
Live Stream: Experimental Sound Studio

PORTAL: Augmented Reality Soundscape App - Summer 2022 Release

For more information visit our Viral Silence webpage on our website.

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Viral Silence is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency and a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

Thank You to Our Funders
MacArthur Funds for Culture, Equity, and the Arts at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
Thank you to our newest funder, The Drihaus Foundation. NON:op Open Opera Workds is honored to receive their generous support of our programs and mission.
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.
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.
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, 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
1357 East 57th Street #2
Chicago, IL 60637