We were in NYC to celebrate Kelly’s birthday and saw this piece on its closing day at MoMA. The Clock is a 24 hour long video that uses thousands of movie clips to construct a clock. Each minute of the day/night is represented through a clip.
Marclay, who is the “unwitting inventor” of turntablism uses his extensive experience as a live “DJ” to weave the clips from one minute to the next but what really engages the viewer is that he will sometime carry a conversation from one clip to the next and, in essence, create a dialog.
The Clock, as a piece, is synced to real time so if your watch says 12:17 then that is the time you’ll see on the screen.
I’ve long wondered, at certain moments, what else is happening at a given moment around the world. I’ll start by looking at the time and then imagine what my friends are doing, what, say Peter Gabriei or Woody Allen is doing at the same moment and then extrapolate that out to someone in Yyoming, or Somalia or Guam. Whatever. It’s a fun way to spur imagination.
The Clock, however, gave me a visual representation of that idea. In it, one could see the contradiction of connection and knowing of myself to the unimaginable collage of human beings on the planet. Each linked as constituents but with their own way of being, of thinking or living.
It reminded me of one scene from Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi that only made sense by seeing it in a theater, which I did when it first was released in 1983.
If you know the movie then you know it’s a series of scenes showing “life out of balance” on Earth. As with any movie no matter how engaging it is one always knows they are watching something separate from themselves. In the film, however, there is one scene that shows people sitting in a theater watching a movie and in that instance one realizes that YOU are a part of this life that is out of balance. The movie goer is just another cog in the message of the movie they are watching. It was a profound moment then and it was rekindled once again when I saw The Clock.
I believe that MoMA has purchased the piece for their permanent collection but either way see it if you get the opportunity.
MoMA also designated 6 nights where it stayed open the entire night so anyone with the desire to watch the entire 24 hour piece could do so.
I hope they release in on DVD. If they do I’ll be having a Clock (over)night. I think renting a small hall or room and making it an event would be so fun and interesting. Guess we’ll see.