The Clock is a video projection constructed out of moments from cinema when time is expressed or when a character interacts with a clock, watch or simply a particular time of day. Following several years of rigorous research and production, Marclay excerpted thousands of these fragments from films and edited them so that they flow in real time. The Clock premiered at White Cube, Mason’s Yard, London in October 2010. The video lasts 24 hours and functions as a working timepiece in itself, synchronised to the local time zone. While The Clock examines how time, plot and duration are depicted in cinema, the viewer can also look at the work at any moment and use it to tell the time. Yet the audience watching The Clock experiences a vast range of narratives, settings and moods within the space of a few minutes, making time unravel in countless directions at once. Even while The Clock tells the time, it ruptures any sense of chronological coherence. Drawing on strategies of avant-garde film and music, but using recognisable motifs from popular culture, Marclay at once defamiliarises and heightens the temporal experience of the cinema, transposing it into the direct, lived experience of any viewer who engages with the work.
‘The Clock‘, Christian Marclay, 2010