Music makes time audible - Susanne Langer

The sound work, Still, produced in the context of the solo exhibition, Tills, by Raphaël Lecoquierre can be seen as a development of Drago's ongoing work-research into Suspending Time. Whereas previous iterations of Suspending Time were positioned within Drago's live art practice, or as they call them "listening occasions" this new work has been produced for the specific context of the installation in mind, and is listenable thorughout the duration of the 6 month exhibition at Casino Luxembourg. In this work, they concentrate on creating a feeling of vastness within the sound, that a listener may get lost in and have it potentiate an experiencing of vertical or non-linear time. What may appear to be repetitive or non-moving, is in fact moving at glacial pace. Guests are invited to lay down in Lecoquierre’s sublime installation and listen attentively to experience a suspension of time.

“Time exists for us because we experience tensions and their resolutions.” Philosopher Susanne Langer, claims that the particular building-up of tensions, and “their ways of breaking or diminishing or merging into longer and greater tensions, make for a vast variety of temporal forms.” In most Western music, we generally listen within a linear framework, recalling what has already been heard and anticipating what will come next. Often without ever having heard a piece of music before, it is possible to anticipate the next phrase because of how it was suggested earlier in the piece. Johnathan Kramer introduced the concept of ‘vertical time’ in music after experiencing a performance of Erik Satie’s Vexations. Kramer encountered a feeling of having exhausted the information content of the work and experienced “getting bored, becoming imprisoned by a hopelessly repetitious piece.” The experience of time became slower and slower, threatening to stop. But through this boredom, Kramer discovered a different mode of listening. By being liberated from considering the music’s past and future, the present expanded; suddenly it was possible to enter the “vertical time of the piece.”

A vector can be drawn between this alternate mode of listening to music and numerous meditation and mindfulness practices that similarly emphasise the importance of focusing on the present. As Drago sees it, meditation can be used to become aware of thought, with the imperative to continually come back to the anchor, oftentimes the breath, and in this work, the sound. This work hypothesises that these two factors, meditation and non-linear listening, are interdependent. The experience of vertical time can have a meditative effect, yet effectively one must be meditating – or at least be alleviated from conscious thought – to be able to experience time vertically.

Tills is listenable within the scope of Raphaël Lecoquierre’s exhibition, Tills, at Casino Luxembourg from 06.05.2023 — 10.09.2023. Exhibiton curated by Kevin Muhlen + Stilbé Schroeder. 

E-flux announcement of Tills at Casino Luxembourg