Last weekend I finally made it down to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to view Christian Marclay’s The Clock, which is getting all the buzz at the Venice Biennale this summer. The 24-hour video montage is brilliant and painful all at once. It consists of over 5,000 movie and television clips, each moment referencing what time it is in the film at that moment. It’s not the wonderfully edited and perfectly synchronized aesthetic to the video that makes the piece so alluring, but rather the fact that its a functioning clock itself. Every single clip is arranged so that the time in the movie, marks the actual real time as well, creating a rather maddening effect. The film I believe, is meant to provoke a conversation about how a moment in time is represented through film, but I was more interested in the way watching it felt to me.
I am the type of person who is very aware of the clock, you have to be if you plan on using your time efficiently. I generally go to the movies to be entertained, to let time slip by unnoticeably yet pleasantly. But watching The Clock was a different experience. With each scene your awareness of how much time has truly passed since the last, is painfully obvious and ongoing. A watch shown on a wrist, a clock on the wall, church Bell’s ringing in the background, a train pulling into the station or merely a mention through dialogue, each minute is drilled into your mind over and over, as if time is constantly chasing you. I wanted so much to escape it, and let myself truly devour the mostly familiar scenes, but I just couldn’t. And I thought that was interesting, this relationship with the act of watching time and forgetting time all at once.
So, that was just my experience. I believe the piece is incredibly complex and I would die to actually have the opportunity to watch the full 24-hours.
There will be a 24 hour screening at LACMA on July 28th at 5pm for anyone who is interested!