Monday, 8 November 2010

Killing Time

I'm not quite sure if I was killing time, wasting time, filling time, making time for, passing the time or keeping time but in the spare couple of hours before I had to be at a party in central London on Saturday evening I spent time watching Christian Marclay's video installation at White Cube: Mason's Yard - The Clock.

It's amazing - completely absorbing in a strangely mesmerising way. Created like a sort of video patchwork quilt made using edited cuts from mainstream classic films where clock faces appear, or during which times are mentioned, each sliver from the various films are sewn together to create a 24hour film which exactly follows the time kept by the viewers as they watch it. You're watching at 10am, it's 10am in the film, then 10.01 - each minute is marked by references to the time in various films.

During the early evening when I was there, (4.30 to 6pm) there were lots of catching of trains, clocking out of work, countdowns to explosions, fleeting meetings before hurried departures, eyes watching the clock and willing it to hurry up, appointments made and missed, tea time dates, children eating their supper, people heading out for the evening, radio broadcasts... i'd imagine at different times you'd have people doing very different things - in the morning they'd be waking up, at the dead of night there'd be zombies trudging about or people tossing and turning in bed.

It's a weird experience because there's no continual narrative thread; an episode from Psycho is followed by one from Pride and Prejudice. There's screaming, there's bombs, there's a civilised tea. Yet it works, becuase you're drawn into a world consumed by time, just as you are consumed by it in your own time because you're watching the minutes pass so very consciously. every minute us searingly significant. and that's the story, taking you into time, into every minute, in multiple directions and making you think about each second and rolling its significance around in your head just in the time it takes the scene, visual flash or comment to play out, because you can't possibly take everything on board.

Overwhelming, exhilarating, thrilling, confusing, fascinating, funny, weird and thought-provoking.