Saturday, February 11, 2012

Conceptual writers take note

Looking forward to Christian Marclay's, The Clock, now at the National Gallery in Ottawa--and a very good reason to head in that direction. This piece, like his earlier work, takes advantage of the abundance of visual material at our disposal, mining contemporary film for moments that include, as we see below, a clock, or a character looking at a watch. The artist has knitted together, of these moments, a film that runs in a twenty-four hour period, in real time.

That the film works in real time is a stroke of genius, and elevates the film to the status of classic in the genre of conceptual film precisely because of the clarity and elegance. No doubt it would be remarkable to sit through 24 hours of a virtual world. An instance where the artist might seem to have penetrated the viewer's psyche and be narrating our inner lives...for surely many of the images and embedded emotions that accompany them, will look and feel very familiar. Take for example, an earlier piece of Marclay's that features telephones. You can watch this one in under 10 minutes and I think get a good sense of what is possible with this kind of archival gleaning.
The crystalline thinking is something I look for constantly in poetry and rarely find. Perhaps unfairly, one holds such instances up as remarkable moments of grace in terms of content, form, gesture--the execution resonates profoundly. Of course I've only seen bits of Marclay's piece on line, and offer them below, until I can report on the actual physical engagement. But I won't be offering up 24 hours of my life to the project, in which case any response I might have would be unfair, no? Incomplete.
And a little conversation with the artist.


Peter Greene said...

That little segment of the 'clock' piece made me want to watch about twenty different films in as many must have been somewhat of a chore to collect all the material for recording.

Lemon Hound said...

I can't wait to see it. But you know, there is a certain integrity with the Telephone piece that I find extremely compelling. This is a perfect example of why/what conceptualism has to offer writers.