Skin -
Rebecca Saunders

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 though, 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 1975 and first broadcast in 1977), this text, spoken by the narrator in Act 1, was the absolute catalyst for this piece:

...this is the rooms essence

not being

new look closer

mere dust

dust is the skin of a room

history is a skin

the older it gets the more impression are le 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 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