Reading ‘The Clock’


I recently visited The Power Plant gallery in Toronto, to experience an installation called The Clock. And it was pretty woo-woo crazy. I’m no philosopher and the experience of the thing sort of broke my brain, but I shall try to describe it as a 24-hour-long video in which each minute of the day is depicted in film (sometimes from Hollywood, sometimes from obscure Japanese art films, and all sorts in between). For instance: it shows 2:56pm on your wrist-watch? Then The Clock will be showing a minute of film that features a watch or clock set at 2:56pm. It was, as this review suggests, a project that freakishly “dismantled” my experience of time. And so I tried to make sense of it in my notebook as I watched for an hour one Saturday afternoon. Problem is, I was writing in the dark during an experience that “dismantled” my understanding of the world around me. So unlike when I review notes taken at a concert or play review, and can sort of piece together what I wrote, the notes I took at The Clock are, upon review, totally whack. What follows is my attempt to make sense of the scribbles in my notebook during that time-warpy, mind-melty hour of film.


TNY- Time Passing- The Clock * I have no idea what this was referring to. Maybe The New Yorker? Was I supposed to go back and reread the piece about it in The New Yorker?

Denzel, Beatrix, as a movie montage *I really need to start learning to write in complete sentences when taking notes on shizz like this…

Matt Damon is so young! *Yes!?

Fluidity, ethnicity, seamless *I feel like I may have really been on to something here.

Bundle profs fall on rhythm, chess review *Do you think I have the beginnings of a great psychedelic novel, maybe?

Bruce Willis multiple roles *Well, that’s true. He was in it A LOT in the hour between 4-5.

Tension with sound, rhythm *Ooh, I do remember that: Marclay managed to create real emotional swells of tension and release by manipulating the audio levels with overlays.

Other kinds of clocks *Yes! What ABOUT other kinds of clocks? Later in the film, I did experience a minute of a film depicting ancient Indian royalty and their hoarding of elaborate and strange-looking clocks.

Fold time in upon itself… happens to the wrinkle… are we at the end or the beginning? *Yeahhhh. I don’t know. I’m pretty sure that was a quote.
Wild West *No arguing with that.
Usually see art to take you out of time, but this makes you hyper-aware of how much time was spent watching, how much in line, pushes you to consider time investment in art. *Good work, me!
Boobs— art — complicated but quite simple. “I think I like it.” Comment on ‘viewing’ art. *Oh yes, I remember this! The film clip showed a man in a gallery considering very pornographic-looking pictures of nude women, but reacting to them as if they were high art.
Forward and backward- 43 then 42 THEN 44? *I am still not sure whether this happened or not, but it seemed as though he may have (on purpose?) skipped back and forth with a few minutes in the 40s. Can’t confirm, but makes my brain loopy to think about it.
Miss Marple I just saw! *I’d just watched an obscure episode of Miss Marple the night before, and it was in The Clock… but I suppose odds are you will end up seeing a clip of some movie you’ve watched recently since there are just so dang many of them and taken from such a variety of sources. Still. Miss Marple! As Art! Best ever!
When time comes up in movies, it’s usually a moment of crisis *There were an awful lot of nigh-explosion situations in The Clock. It’s all about timing!
Steve Martin has to catch a plane, but his boss is taking a really long time to look at art. Time is power. *Must look into what movie that was, it seemed pretty great. And so tense with so little going on.
Anxious after first 10 mins, then ease into the flow *I will admit I was quite antsy for the first 10 or 15 minutes of watching it, but then I relaxed and got totally caught up the experience, not even questioning why the things being shown to me were being shown, but rather accepting them and letting them wash over me as though they had meaning. Like being hypnotized, or watching a montage, assuming that there would be a “point” at the end.
In conclusion: I must remember to write full sentences when taking notes in the dark at bizarre mind-altering art experiences. Yeesh!

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