L’s GA: Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

Create your own response to Salvatore Martirano’s 1967 anti-war classic.

concept by Sal Martirano, film by Ron Nameth, gas-masked politico by Michael Holloway

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The NON:op project, L’s GA: Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, invites you to interact with Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and with Sal Martirano’s 1967 anti-war classic, L’s GA. In Martirano’s work, Lincoln’s words were buried—almost irretrievably—by an onslaught of images, sounds, masks, and distortions. They became at once the empty bombast uttered by a puppet leader—part fascist, part clown—and visceral, bodily screams of rage against the slaughter in Vietnam, the suppression of dissent, the abuse of women, the oppression of minorities and the dispossessed; against war games, pornography, blind prejudice, and empty, meaningless clichés of beauty.

A literally “gas-masked politico” delivered Lincoln’s text, cavorting and blustering, with a voice that was distorted by helium pumped into his lungs, administered by a cartoonish nurse. The text itself was dismembered, interrupted, repeated, transformed into cheers and slogans, and reduced eventually to vacant shouts of blah, blah, blah.

The whole protested against a government that drafted young men—especially African-American men—as cannon-fodder for American imperial dreams; that incarcerated, deported, or killed Black Panthers and other activists for daring to assert that persons really are created equal; that poured billions of dollars into war machinery and the firms that built it; that enabled cities and cultures, home and abroad, to be destroyed in the name of safety and security.

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You are invited to respond to Lincoln’s text and Martirano’s piece—and to blogs and comments by others—to explore how they might be viewed, used, remixed, or repurposed in today’s world. You can respond in several ways, listed in the menu at the right. Comments can be entered at the bottom of each item; for blogs, documents, and responses, contact the project moderator at LsGA@nonopera.org. All comments and submissions must observe NON:op’s policy regarding unacceptable speech. See the FAQ for more information.

You can comment on an existing blog or you can write a new one. You can submit documents about the Gettysburg Address—a photograph, a recording, an object, a text—or about L’s GA. These might be personal: did your mother or great-uncle win an award for reciting the Address? Send a photo of the award and tell us the story. Did you attend a performance of Martirano’s piece? Send a program or photograph and tell us about your experience. Or they might be cultural or performative: do you know the source for some of the footage used in 1967? Send it to us and offer your thoughts on its meanings then and now. Did a punk band use the Address in a music video? Send us the link and offer your comments.

In addition to collecting historical performances of the Martirano piece, NON:op is commissioning new responses to it—either performed (re)interpretations or entirely new (re)compositions. If you are interested in creating a work yourself, please check out the application form.

At present NON:op is able to grant two commissions, one of which has already been awarded.
If you would like to be considered for the second commission, please apply by November 1, 2020.
A decision will be announced by November 10, and the completed work is due January 1, 2021.

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If you have questions, please first consult the FAQ. For further information, write William (Bill) Brooks at bill [at] nonopera [dot] org or Christophe Preissing at non [at] nonopera [dot] org.

Enjoy these pages and explore the many other projects to be found on the NON:op website. Welcome!

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