lueurs de l’instant (2006 – 07)

string quar­tet

- Work­shopped by Quatuor Danel, Uni­ver­si­ty of Man­ches­ter, UK (2007)
- Per­formed by Jas­mine Quar­tet, ‘Around Sound’ new music day, Uni­ver­si­ty of Man­ches­ter, UK (2007)


This piece was born out of con­sid­er­ing how we per­ceive the present moment and draws on Husser­l’s account of the tem­po­ral struc­ture of con­scious­ness: expe­ri­ence of the present also con­tains reten­tion of what has just been and pro­ten­tion (low-level antic­i­pa­tion) of what is just becom­ing. Our expe­ri­ence is not a suc­ces­sion of iso­lat­ed “now” points, but rather, con­tained with­in our pre-reflexive impres­sion of the present, there is also the just-past-as-present and the about-to-be-as-present. Not that time is lin­ear: each appar­ent moment has its own par­tic­u­lar hori­zon. In oth­er words, fol­low­ing the title of this piece, there are glim­mers with­in the instant of the past and the future, and maybe even we only know instants as glim­mers between our reten­tions and pro­ten­tions.
This quar­tet explores this by using a nota­tion that requires the per­form­ers to have their tem­po­ral expe­ri­ence dur­ing per­for­mance guide tim­ing (rather than fol­low­ing a set pre­de­fined grid or met­ric), and by set­ting up lis­ten­ing sit­u­a­tions where per­cep­tion is direct­ed towards becom­ing (pro­ten­tion) and dis­ap­pear­ance (reten­tion) and the resul­tant bor­der­land of the instant. In lis­ten­ing, the piece is like an expand­ed moment, refract­ing reten­tions and protentions.