Graphics by Herbert Brün on exhibit at the University of Illinois

Posters for new music concerts that used Herbert Brün's graphics

An opening reception, to mark an exhibit of graphics by Herbert Brün, was held in the library at the School of Music at the University of Illinois on May 3, 2007. Herbert taught in the Music Department at the University of Illinois from 1963 to 2000, while composing music for instruments as well as for computers. He composed over 1,000 works of graphic art, about half of which are still in Urbana; a small selection form the exhibit. Presentations on the graphics were offered by Susan Parenti, Mark Enslin, and Philip Schuessler. Exerpts of their presentations follow.

Susan Parenti:
Herbert composed over 60 pieces of music, as well as additional hours of music for theater; he also composed 1,056 computer graphics. Of that number, only seven are duplicates–the rest are what is called ‘unique’ (though that’s a selling word) “unique”. Herbert was wary of the term “computer graphics”, as if the computer generated the graphics. The formulation he preferred was “ink graphics, drawn by a plotter, under control of a computer, programmed by a composer”. (It takes more time to be thoughtful!) In the 1980s Herbert gladly hung his graphics in the Music Library of the University of Illinois, where they floated like mirages high over the bookshelves. Now, in 2007, they return.

Mark gives a presentation about Herbert's graphics

Mark Enslin:
One of the first formulations I was offered by Herbert Brün when I attended his freshman composition class was “composition creates a context in which a false statement turns true” … I was an 18-year-old, and I met this statement and the person behind it. Among several notions that this sentence lights up, is the notion that composing a piece of (say) music is related to making statements. This, unfortunately, is a controversial thought.

Making statements was not an emphasized part of my upbringing. So how could a piece of art make a statement? An answer that was explored by Brün and by students in class and in work was: by analogy. An analog is not that to which it is analog. You have two things: one is analog to the other. They are not the same thing. They have a relationship that is: analogy… Brün added a twist to this, which is: while you can make analogies to things that already exist in the world, you can also make analogies to things that don’t exist in the world, yet.

Philip gives a presentation on his composition work using a Herbert Brün graphic

Philip Schuessler:
One of my interests with this project is to consider that analogy can be more than the usual one-to-one correspondence between two similar things. I’m intrigued with Herbert’s idea of considering this graphic as an analogy to something that doesn’t yet exist. Creating this process of analogy is for me very interesting… to transform this into a musical medium is part of the challenge. How to translate it into musical terms?

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Emphases

Microtonal Design, or Alternative Crystallizations of the Pitch Continuum No aspect of music has become more rigidified in our minds and practice than the potential of musical pitch. Out of the vast pitch continuum, we find ourselves making the same non-choice over and over again: 12 equal divisions of the octave. Are alternatives possible, and do they make any sense? Yes! Join us for an exploratory seminar at the School for Designing a Society in Urbana, Illinois. Expertise unnecessary; only a willingness to un-stick yourself in good company.

Cybernetics and Social Change Cybernetics as an interdisciplinary field of study was proposed in the 20th century by scientists who wanted to fight fascism. From this study there ensued various unexpected theoretical and practical attempts and tendencies. A starting point for this course will be the view of cybernetics as a praxis for generating radical projects. Radical: getting at the roots of a problem; changing whole frameworks. The questions of cybernetics—regulation, self-regulation? observation, self-observation? stability, dynamics?—are invited to help actively answer the questions of social change: which social? how change?

Liberation Ecology What does sustainability look like when it refuses to sustain white supremacy? What is the meaning of liberation in a civilization that cannot feed or fuel itself? The choice between ecological objectives and social objectives is lose-lose. Rather than make it, we can unveil the connections between the two sets of issues, and create strategies for change that build on those connections. This class will weave together two elements: principles of ecological design, and exploration of the relationship between real and desired ecosystems and real and desired societies.

Ongoing Composition/Performance Projects

Pester Power! A collaborative compostion made by SDaS 2013-2014, now a kid’s performance to empower adults to help them change the world.
Collaboration with writer Faranak Miraftab and her book Making a Home in the Heartland: Immigration and Global Labor Mobility We’re in the process of creating a touring program based on this book.
“My Work in the Light of Herbert and Marianne Brun” Presentation/workshop series by local and visiting artists and activists.

Who is invited?

Since we all live with the consequences of the current design of society, everyone is invited to participate in designing a different one. No particular educational background is required; the prerequisite is the desire to participate in designing a society.

Apply

To apply to participate in the School for Designing a Society, please click here and you will be contacted for a phone interview.

To contact admissions, email Melanie at applications@designingasociety.net.

Keep in Touch! Subscribe to our Newsletter.

apply no particular educational background is required; the prerequisite is the desire to participate in designing a society.

register fill out the registration form here.

Keep in Touch! Subscribe to our Newsletter.

House Parties Procedure

How do I sign up? What do I do?

1. Contact Yael at 360-350-9904 to schedule a live performance of Pester Power at a time convenient for you and your neighbors.

2. Invite your neighbors to your house, to see the live performance. (It’s 25 minutes long, fun, performed by kids).

3. After the performance, participate in a discussion about ways you and neighbors can change environmental and racial climate over the next 2 months (a member of Urbana’s Sustainability Advisory Commission would be happy to help). Make a commitment to take certain steps in an action plan.

4. Meet a few more times with your neighbors in October and November, to check in on your action plan.

5. Join us in a celebration of Urbana Pester Power House Parties at the Independent Media Center, 122 Broadway in Urbana, December 13th a 2pm. Meet other neighborhood Pester Power Party groups!

Does this cost anything?

No. The performers (all kids) are excited to empower you adults to help them to change the world! The Urbana Sustainability Advisory Commission is delighted to work with you.

Keep in Touch! Subscribe to our Newsletter.





apply no particular educational background is required; the prerequisite is the desire to participate in designing a society.

upcoming read about our upcoming programs and workshops for the year.

touring read about our touring and performance schedules for the year.

courses listed both alphabetically and by topic & a number of interdisciplinary programs cross boundaries between disciplines.

what happens? designing a society is a project that intersects the formats of classroom, commune, performance ensemble, activist group.

Stay in Touch

Keep in Touch! Subscribe to our Newsletter.





Exuberant Performance Workshops

Create your own One Woman (Man) Band!: Learn to multi-play various musical instruments.
Waltzing Marching Band Take to the streets with a big band full of unusual instruments.
Vaudeville, not Awed-ville Going back to the 1930’s, learn to be a performative ‘jack/jill of all trades’, rather than an expert in one.
One Man Band

Ongoing Composition/Performance Projects

Pester Power! A collaborative compostion made by SDaS 2013-2014, now a kid’s performance to empower adults to help them change the world.
Collaboration with writer Faranak Miraftab and her book Making a Home in the Heartland: Immigration and Global Labor Mobility We’re in the process of creating a touring program based on this book.
“My Work in the Light of Herbert and Marianne Brun” Presentation/workshop series by local and visiting artists and activists.

Who is invited?

Since we all live with the consequences of the current design of society, everyone is invited to participate in designing a different one. No particular educational background is required; the prerequisite is the desire to participate in designing a society.

Apply

To apply to participate in the School for Designing a Society, please click here and you will be contacted for a phone interview.

To contact admissions, email Melanie at applications@designingasociety.net.

Keep in Touch! Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Who is invited?

Since we all live with the consequences of the current design of society, everyone is invited to participate in designing a different one. No particular educational background is required; the prerequisite is the desire to participate in designing a society.

Apply

To apply to participate in the School for Designing a Society, please fill out the form here and you will be contacted for a phone interview.

To contact admissions, email Melanie at applications@designingasociety.net.

Keep in Touch! Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Who is invited?

Since we all live with the consequences of the current design of society, everyone is invited to participate in designing a different one. No particular educational background is required; the prerequisite is the desire to participate in designing a society.

Apply

To apply to participate in the School for Designing a Society, please click here and you will be contacted for a phone interview.

To contact admissions, email Melanie at applications@designingasociety.net.

Film Emphasis In the fall of 2013, the School for Designing a Society began to put more emphasis on the medium of video, with forays into the creation of Public Service Announcements as part of the larger SDAS collaboration project. We will continue with this emphasis in 2014. Under what circumstances will a composition of sound, text and moving image provoke curiosity, action, reflection, and change of mind?

Collaboration with writer & urban planner, Faranak Miraftab This Spring 2014 SDaS participants have been invited to work with writer and urban planner, Faranak Miraftab on theatricalizing texts from her book, Making a Home in the Heartland: Immigration and Global Labor Mobility. The book is based on interviews with Cargil employees in Beardstown illinois. The idea would be to create a touring program based on these texts/interviews. Writers, musicians, poets, dancers, activists are invited to work on this collaboration.

apply no particular educational background is required; the prerequisite is the desire to participate in designing a society.

upcoming read about our upcoming programs and workshops in the fall, spring & summer.

courses listed both alphabetically and by topic & a number of interdisciplinary programs cross boundaries between disciplines.

what happens? designing a society is a project that intersects the formats of classroom, commune, performance ensemble, activist group.