Friday, October 19, 2012

The Clock Exhibition @ The Power Plant

Christian Marclay's exhibition called The Clock is a masterful display of film archival research and film editing that boggles the mind.  It took him over 3 years to compile thousands of film clips that review the time, whether it is a shot of a clock or a wristwatch or someone indicating the time through dialogue.  Played in real time so that the time on the screen matches the actual time of the viewing audience, this amazing film runs for 24 hours and represents every minute of an entire day.

It is currently showing for free at The Power Plant at 231 Queen's Quay.  The normal hours are Tuesday-Sunday 10-5 with extended hours on Thursday of 10-8.  But for designated days, it will be playing non-stop for 24 hour viewing periods.  The remaining days for this extended time period are until Oct 21, 5pm, Oct 27 10am-Oct 28 5pm and Nov 23 10am-Nov 25 5pm.  There are plush arm chair seats for about 50 people, and then standing room or floor space all around the small theatre, which was packed when we went for our first viewing.  You have to be quick to dive in when someone leaves if you want to snag a seat.

We watched this exhibition from around 3:10pm-4:05pm and was amazed by the wide range of movies that were covered in this short time period alone.  It is absolutely mesmerizing to watch and you get caught up with trying to identify the brief clips before they fade away into the next one. 

In that brief window, we recognized scenes from Mary Poppins, Gone With The Wind, Wait Before Dark, Wall Street, BeetleJuice, Before Sunset, The Thomas Crown Affair, Sixth Sense, Great Expectations, Manhattan Murder Mystery and many more that we couldn't identify.  At around 3:26, Jack Nicolson was singing to Ann Margaret in the musical Tommy when he pulled out his pocket watch.  In One Hour Photo, At 3:42, Robin Williams was ripping apart the film from a camera with a shot of a clock behind him.  Henry Fonda and other jurors were discussing a theory about the case in 12 Angry Men and synchronized their watches to 4pm.

It is incredible to imagine how difficult it would be to find all this footage of time and then to edit it together to play for exactly the right duration.  The movies ranged from recent releases to very old black and white movies.  There were foreign films including one in Cantonese that might have been the movie Infernal Affair.  I think I remember the scene and dialogue about a wristwatch.

The editing is inspired as the film moves from clip to clip.  The phone rings and is answered in one movie but the response could come from another one.  A man is carrying a woman down a hall in one movie, which cuts away to a different man carry a different woman in a totally different scene.  The sound from one film sometimes trails into the next one. 

This was such a great experience that we will go back again to watch for a longer period of time, if we can get in.  There are longer lineups for this at nights and on the weekends and the wait time could be long since people could stay up to 24 hours to watch the whole thing!  I guess food or bio-breaks would force them out sooner or later.

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