Skip to content

futures unmade in the boundlessness of the instant

for solo soprano saxophone (2011/rev. 2016)

Written for Joshua Hyde

Premiere: Joshua Hyde, 45 Downstairs, Melbourne, AU, August 29, 2011

Premiere of revised version: David Wegehaupt, Null Point, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, NY, July 1, 2016




Audio: revised version–David Wegehaupt


Video: original version–Joshua Hyde




The sculptor Robert Smithson wrote that “instead of causing us to remember the past like the old monuments, the new monuments [i.e. minimalist sculptures] seem to cause us to forget the future…They are involved in a systematic reduction of time down to factions of seconds…Both past and future are placed in an objective present. This kind of time has little or no space; it is stationary and without movement, it is going nowhere, it is…instant, and is against the wheels of the time clock.”

futures unmade in the boundlessness of the instant sets off a collision between the inert, frozen temporality Smithson describes and a linear, accretional temporality. In inert time, the present moment is self-sufficient, empty, and limitless, whereas in accretional time, the present moment functions as part of a larger-scale directional process. More concretely, the latter is embodied by gestural, discursive material, while the former is embodied by materials devoid of rhythmic activity—primarily silences but also, towards the piece’s end, sustained tones and gradual silent actions.

While in much music, rhythmic inertia and silence function as pauses, as exceptions to the rule of rhythmic continuity, this piece aims to give the former as much importance and definition as the latter. In futures unmade, inertia is not only accorded significant durational weight, but also functions as an autonomous, traceable agent within the piece.