Participate in L’s GA: Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

L's GA


It was 1967. You don’t remember that, do you? Probably you weren’t even around then. But I was. And it is one of my memories; what I remember; part of our American Biography; part of what made us all—even you, who might not have been born—what we are.

Young men were being drafted and dying in the jungle. Young black men were dying more often. Resistance was growing. There was a concert, and Sal Martirano presented L’s GA for the first time: a composition for gas-masked politico, with helium bomb, assisted by a nurse. Lincoln’s iconic words struggled to be heard through the mask. The voice struggled to be a voice, bombed as it was by helium. American words of inspiration were turned into fascist chanting, mindless calisthenics, totalitarian mockery. And all drowned out by sound and image: love duets at 110 dB; war games played on naked bodies; thunder, drums, and death.

L’s GA (Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address) is a 1967 anti-war classic by American composer Salvatore Martirano for gas-masked politico, helium bomb, three 16mm movie projectors, and two-channel tape recorder. The film was created by Ronald Nameth, the gas-masked politico and additional text were created by Michael Holloway, and the nurse assisting with the administration of the gas was played by Denise Tipei. Historically, the politico has always been portrayed by a non-disabled white male. The role of the nurse (or assistant) has been been played by persons of all genders (and has also been omitted altogether, with the alteration in voice done electronically). There is no reason whatsoever to preserve those gender or racial assignments. That was then; this is now. The politico and the nurse (a slave, or The Boss?)—can be any one of us, any race, any orientation, any age. And although the original language of the Gettysburg Address—and of L’s GA—is English, we welcome responses in any language.

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As part of the Memory Project initiative, NON:op is commissioning new responses to L’s GA—either performed (re)interpretations or entirely new (re)compositions­—created using the original production materials together with whatever you want to add. Text, sound, and image remain; all else is mutable. What hasn’t changed since 1967—or gotten worse? What can the Gettysburg Address possibly mean to you? Who are today’s gas-masked politicos? What masks do you wear—and by force or by choice? What are you forced to breathe—or prevented from breathing?  What “nurse” controls your air supply? What drowns out your voice?

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 contact bill [at] nonopera [dot] org.

Productions may result in either video or audio files (or both) and include any media you choose to create. NON:op will provide technical and logistical support if needed, whenever possible.

You may create a work that matches the duration of Martirano’s L’s GA (about 25 minutes) or something of a shorter duration, with a minimum duration of five minutes.

Artists’ fees are calculated on the basis of $15 per hour. We anticipate that it will take approximately 30 hours to create a 25-minute response. This includes approximately five hours of conceptualization and 25 hours of production time. Thus, if you create a 20-minute response, you would spend 25 hours and receive a fee of $375. (NON:op doesn’t have an abundance of resources, but it does feel that all persons should be paid for their time. And yes, we probably agree with you: if the world were as it should be, the basic wage—for everyone—would be closer to $100 per hour.)

We hope to include completed productions in a live event—a manifestation—in 2021.

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Submission Requirements

You must include a description of your project and process—500 words or less, please!

You may choose also to include the following to strengthen your proposal:
– Audio samples
– Video samples
– Text samples
– Sketches or preliminary scenarios

Submission form may be found HERE. (COMING SOON!)

If you have questions, please contact William (Bill) Brooks at bill [at] nonopera [dot] org or Christophe Preissing at non [at] nonopera [dot] org.