Christian Marclay\’s \”The Clock\”

I caught this yesterday at British Art Show 7 at the Hayward Gallery in London’s South Bank and urge anyone interested in art, cinema or time to see it. It’s on there until 17th April. I’ve attached a link here to Will Gompertz’s report for BBC News on it, when it first came out last year. It’s just brilliant, one of the most riveting and interesting experiences I’ve had in a long time. There we go: a Freudian reference to time. You can’t get away from it.

“The Clock” is a film made up of cinema clips which refer to time, the time, clocks, watches and timepieces. Every time a clock or watch is shown in one of the film clips, that clock is showing the actual time, now. It runs for 24-hours and is synched with local time where it is being shown, so the film is itself a kind of big clock. So you’re sitting there effectively watching time pass; but the clips are so well chosen and inter-spliced, it couldn’t be more gripping.

When I was there, for example, just after 5pm, we had the famous musical timepiece section with Gian-Maria Volonte, Lee Van Cleef and Clint Eastwood in For A Few Dollars More, some great Alastair Sim action, Slumdog Millionnaire at the railway station, Bogart arriving late (or was the shady character early?) and so on.

Och no, is it 11.10 already? Unfortunately this blog can’t perform the same feat, so it will be out of date by the time you read it. It’s now 11.11. Jesus, it took me a minute to write that? Better get on with some work …

Published by Simon Riley

Qualitative researcher in the UK. I listen to people from all walks of life and think about what it all means. I work for leading brands, media companies and government.

6 thoughts on “Clock-watching

  1. Simes

    Nice piece, and blog – I think you need to consider tagging your entries though… you’ll be grateful for that bit of information organisation one day. Maybe also have your chronological ordering & blogroll on the right or left-hand side too – it’s kind of standard, may confuse people otherwise – twitter feed too? (I’m finding twitter much mre interesting/useful than fbook these days anyway)


    1. Many thanks Paul!! All tips welcome, I just started it this week and haven’t a clue really on the technicalities, other than the very basics. Can you talk me through how to do it? Not urgent and I’m doing work this afternoon, but when you have a spare minute … Meanwhile, would you like to subscribe to my nonsense? No need to actually, as I have hooked it up already with my @ShoreQual twitterings and it’s going onto my facebook page. But do follow @ShoreQual on twitter (my personal one is @SimonCatRiley which I use as well)


      1. you should be able to tag posts (with tags you make up) as you write them – there should be a field under the text box in your writing interface (if you know what I mean – its been a while since I used wordpress & I have forgotten all the lingo) … there should also be some kind of button/widget thing you can use to import yr twitter feed too… hmm I’m definitely showing my ignorance here, I’m all mouth & no trousers I’m afraid


  2. …oh and was christian marclay the guy that did the video of the truck pulling the electric guitar? that was fab…


  3. I couldn’t tell you, but I know from the BBC clip that he did something that looks cool with multiple turntables. There was a piece by another artist in there yesterday that consisted in part of an old-style record player, with the record at the top of the spindle and the need scratching along turntable underneath it making a great whgghghghghg noise. My old record player in Northern Ireland actually does that of its own accord.


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