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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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.

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 to the left 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.

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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 this year.

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

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Linked projects

Here is an incomplete list of projects, most of them active, which have a history of connection with the School for Designing a Society and its participants.

The Gesundheit! Institute
Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center
CU Citizens for Peace and Justice
American Society for Cybernetics
Allen Hall Unit One
Occupy CU
Education Justice Project
Urbana Public Arts Program
Oddmusic UC
Makerspace Urbana
CU Community Fab Lab
Iraq Veterans Against the War
Educational Resources in Environmental Science
Allied Media Conference
Haja Center (Seoul, South Korea)
La Casa Grande Collectiva
The Big Neighborhood Orchard
Urbana Permaculture Project
Dreamtime Village (Wisconsin)
Spineless Books
St. Jude Catholic Worker