Moments the way that one instant moves to the

Moments are in a constant state of change, this means that
they are consistently blending from one to the next in such a way that we
cannot witness the point of separation between them which is necessary for
unitisation. In ‘The creative mind’ (1946), Bergson uses the colour spectrum to
exemplify the image of time as a qualitative multiplicity. The colour spectrum
has a variety of different shades. There is heterogeneity, yet the colours move
from one to the next seamlessly. Just as with moments in time, each new colour
is indicated in the preceding one. Hence, in each image of still water in Roni
Horn’s photographic series, there is a heterogeneity among them, and vast
variations between them. Yet, as we regard each image separately, we can
imagine the next moment as it is indicated in the suggestion of the wave and
the way in which the light hits the surface of the water as it is photographed.
It is easy to imagine the rhythmic movement of the waves, crashing over and
over again, flowing in the way that one instant moves to the next (see figures
6 and 7). Bergson visualises this inability to unitise moments because of this
non-separation: ‘If curves are more graceful than broken lines, the reason is
that, while a curved line changes its direction at every moment, every new
direction is indicated in the preceding one’ (Bergson, 1910, p.12).

‘Ping’ (1967), a short story by Samuel Beckett
is written in an unusual style with no beginning, middle, or end. Written so
irregularly yet fluidly that it is almost like a hypnotic description of a
consciousness, as though it is an attempt to describe how one moment blends
gracefully into another.

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‘Only the eyes only just light blue almost white fixed front. Ping murmur
only just almost never one second perhaps a way out…

Traces blurs light grey eyes holes light blue almost white fixed front
ping a meaning only just never ping silence…

Head haught eyes white fixed front only ping last murmur one second
perhaps not only eye unlusturous black and white half closed long lashes
imploring ping silence ping over” (Beckett, 1996).

Beckett uses a unique sentencing style which
includes the repetition of words to convey the way that moments merge together
in succession. By using a large number of adjectives, Beckett allows ‘Ping’ to
conjure abstract visual imagery within the reader, and by repeating these
descriptive words, the reader is brought back and forth between images, creating
a blur between them. One image changes seamlessly into the next, and our stream
of consciousness becomes reminiscent of when we look out of a window of a train
moving at full speed. Something so close to describing consciousness can only
be described holistically and qualitatively.

The photo-lithographs contain very small numbers in
typeface over the surface of the water ‘dotted like specks of flotsam over the
water’s surface’ (Tate, 2009). These numbers refer to footnotes that rest along
the bottom edge of the white border of each print, as with the images of the
Thames in ‘Another Water’ (see figure 6). The footnotes ‘present a series of
musings and quotations on the significance of the river and the…narrative it evokes’
(Tate, 2009). Despite the footnotes appearing in a precise order in conjunction
with the numbering system, they are presented in a flowy, fragmented way;
similar to that of a stream of consciousness. The writings connect the Thames
to various references including films, songs, novels, poetry, and other
artworks. Horn describes the purpose of each footnote is to point to a
connection between the viewer and the image:

‘This
footnote (and all the others) gives confluence to this spot on the paper … to
this undulation in the water, to this greenish colour of ink deployed to image
the water, to the idea of water, all water, to the sensual surface of this
paper, to the moment when you happened upon this number, and to you in that
moment.’ (Tate, 2009).

At the intersection of the viewer meeting the artwork,
there becomes a connection, almost like it could be joined in a line, between
Horn’s past and present, the artwork, and the viewer that approaches the work
with their own past and present. By using the word ‘confluence’, Horn
understands that she has used the footnotes as a merging point between
herself, the work, and the viewer, connected more thoroughly by whichever
reference she has made in the text. This is where they meet, and it will vary
for each viewer.

This meeting acts as a point of convergence, and it is
evident that moments cannot be separated because the present and past refuse to
be separated. It shows time to be understood as a qualitative multiplicity
rather than a quantitative one of which separation would be plausible. Bergson
recognises duration as a temporal heterogeneity in which ‘several conscious
states are organised into a whole, permeate each other and gradually gain
richer content’ (Bergson, 1910, p.122). This meeting point shows two entities
(i.e. the past and present) merging and therefore gaining complexity and
becoming more plentiful.  This
unification of moments means that they cannot be considered separately, or
unitised accurately, and means that they cannot be measured precisely.

In ‘The Act of Reading: A Theory of Aesthetic
Response’, author Wolfgang Iser examines this merging and non-separation during
the reading process, and how the meaning of a text does not lie only within the
structure of the words but instead somewhere between the writing and the reader.
Although a text is a fixed structure, when the reader happens upon the words,
they bring with them their own past experiences and connect the text to their
individual stream of consciousness. Iser writes:

 “The impressions that arise as a result of this process will
vary from individual to individual, but only within the limits imposed by the
written as opposed to the unwritten text…In the same way, two people gazing at
the night sky may both be looking at the same collection of stars, but one will
see the image of a plough, and the other will make out a dipper.” (Iser, 1978, p.287).

By using the example of the stars in the sky,
Iser recognises that it is not only in text that when the reader happens upon
the words, they bring with them their own past experiences and connect the text
to their individual stream of consciousness. When Iser references the stars, he
is referring to the text, this is the fixed object, and the constant in the
situation. Yet, the lines that join them vary depending on who is viewing the
stars. This would be either the author of the text or the reader that comes to
the text, they inevitably bring with them their own experience, and the past
and present inescapably collide. The same occurs in Roni Horn’s work: two
individuals may be in the same setting with the same constants, but the
variable that is their consciousness is too complex to ever be understood and
controlled to equal in the same experience of a moment. The connection between
the viewer and the work is unique for each individual, and at the meeting
point, their past meets their present and the two conjoin, unable to be
detached.