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Thursday, April 12


I was lucky to stumble upon The Clock, a film by Christian Marclay, while wandering around the National Gallery in Ottawa.  I'd heard talk of this piece and soon discovered what all the hype was about.  The premise is simple:  a 24 hour film comprises thousands of cinema and television clips, each shot containing  a clock, a watch, or a mention of the time.  The clocks are in sequence and the film plays in real time so when it's 2:30 on the screen, it's 2:30 in the gallery.

It's a clever and impressive feat, but also uncanny, absorbing, and thought provoking.  Marclay bundles shots of similar theme together, marking common activities at certain hours of the day (rush hour, meal times), and linking different fashions and eras into a cohesive stream.  There was something unnerving about being in the same time with actors whose faces I know well and seeing them age through different films while existing in their present time, my time. It got me thinking about the sliced bread version of the multiverse theory, and that I might have gained a better grasp of it after experiencing The Clock.

This work won Christian Marclay a Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale and I'm glad that the National Gallery saw its merit and purchased the piece. Its current presentation runs until May 21.  There are special 24 hour screenings happening tonight, April 19 and 26, and May 3.  The film comes to Toronto's Power Plant in September 2012.

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