Time Is On His Side

Scene from Christian Marclay's "The Clock"

Scene from Christian Marclay's "The Clock"

Scene from Christian Marclay's "The Clock"

The Clock, by the Swiss-American artist Christian Marclay, is the coolest and hottest art piece at this year’s Venice Biennale. Every minute of the video, which runs for 24 hours, let’s the viewer know precisely how long it has been in motion. Marclay’s precision work involves scores of different Hollywood and foreign film clips, each showing a specific time – minute by minute – on a clock in the scene. If my description is not enough. This is from The Daily Beast in February when the piece was installed at the Paula Cooper Gallery in NYC:

Marclay’s conceit is simple: He has spliced together thousands of clips from hundreds of films, new and old, Hollywood and art house, Oscar-winning and B-movie. And each clip either tells the time of day explicitly, through the glimpse of a watch or a clock face or, say, the ringing of church bells, or it indicates the passing of time more obliquely. At one point, the clicking of an old man’s cane stands in for a ticking second hand. At another, slanting morning light indicates an a.m. moment. And at each passing instant of each fleeting clip, the time you see on-screen matches the real time you read off your watch.

Each minute is in contiguous progression. Here is a clip showing 4:02 to 4:12.

For those who continually look at their watches, this is an obsessive’s dream come true. But for the rest, believe it or not, this piece is so addictive you’ll want to watch the entire 24 hours. In fact, its such a timely piece, you’ll want to have the bona fide of seeing the entire thing.

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