The Clock

borismeister-christianmarclay-theclock-theclock-posterChristian Marclay’s “The Clock” grabbed the Golden Lion Award at the 2011 Venice Biennale, so I’m guessing some of the VDP clan have seen it. The Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans teamed with Prospect.4 (our local art event with its own story) to present this piece for the first time in the South. I’ll just quote the description of the curators:
“‘The Clock’ if a cinematic tour de force that unfolds on the screen in real time through thousands of film excerpts that form a 24-hour montage. Appropriated from the last 100 years of cinema’s rich history, the film clips chronicle the hours and minutes of the 24-hour period, often by displaying a watch or clock.”

In layman’s terms, if you are in the audience, and your digital watch or mobile phone reads 11:57 am, you will see one or more short clips on-screen where the image of a clock on the wall, or a watch on a character’s wrist is revealed to read 11:57 am. Obviously, time is important to the plot. If you camp out for 24 hours to watch an entire day’s worth, your will see 1,440 exact matches of synchronized movie scenes time to real time. I checked my I-Watch every minute for an hour just to see if I could find a glitch. I didn’t. Genius! It is impossible to fathom the process or hours of assemblage tedium or exact synchronization required to make this work! But as a viewer, I believe it was worth every delightful minute.

This 24 hours of video art is not only something between surprising and addictive, it gave me a glimpse into the complicated process of “fabricating” visual art. Though one might correct me by saying this is more like film-making, I felt a more keen relationship to the careful process of making a piece of art that has to stand on its visual merits and its construction expertise than, say, a movie or documentary. As someone who loves theater, books, lyrics…words…but struggles to string the right words together, I have few tools to truly appreciate the difficulty of working with blank canvas or a lump of clay or metal instead of a blank piece of paper waiting to be filled with words. So, to me, “The Clock” represents a sort of bridge of comprehension.

Barbara Motley



One Response to “The Clock”

  1. agree. awesome masterpiece. love your process comment – wonderfully apt.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.