Rebecca Saunders — Skin

skin /Skin/ n. a taut flexible continuous outer covering or layering of the body or thing; a film like a skin on the surface of a liquid or solid; the skin of a flayed animal with or without the hair.

n.
the delicate membrane separating the body and its environment – implies the phenomenon of touch, one of the five external senses, and through which the subsidiary sensory modalities of temperature, pain and vibration are partly perceived.

Touch,
somatosensory, tactition or mechanoreception: a neural perception generally in the skin, but also in the tongue, throat, and mucosa. Receptors respond to variations in speed and pressure (firm, brushing, sustained, etc.). adj. somatic, tactile.

skin /Skin/ v.
to skin, to peel back the surface of; to shed an animal of its skin.

Under one′s skin: so deeply penetrative as to irritate, stimulate, provoke thought, or otherwise excite.

Under the skin: beneath apparent or surface differences: at heart.

Skin
as a metaphor for transience – the continuous process of shedding dead skin and the growing of new.

Struck by a recording of an early production of Samuel Beckett′s television play The Ghost Trio (written in 1975 and first broadcast in 1977), this text, spoken by the narrator in Act 1, was the catalyst for this piece:

...this is the rooms essence
not being
now look closer
mere dust
dust is the skin of a room
history is a skin
the older it gets the more
impressions are left on its surface
look again....

The main text in Skin is my own which gradually materialised during the long compositional process, and was partly inspired by the extensive collaborative sessions with Juliet Fraser. A section from James Joyce′s Ulysses, from the final passage of Molly Bloom′s Monologue, is quoted towards the end of Skin.
(Rebecca Saunders, 2016)

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