From 17th century allegorical paintings to Salvador Dalí’s surreal melting clock faces, artists have always been fascinated by the essence of time. As an entity its constantly elusive, but as a concept it enables artists to question existence, perception and collective experience.
When I first saw The Clock, a single channel video at White Cube’s London gallery, I was in awe of this marvel that encapsulated the passing of time in 24-hours through thousands of meticulously collaged film clips of actors interacting with clocks in all their forms; wristwatches, station clocks, clock towers, wall clocks, alarm clocks and digital clocks. When screened the video is masterfully synced to real-time, so at 2.18pm, it’ll be 2.18pm on the screen.
In 2011 Marclay won the coveted Venice Biennale Golden Lion award for the The Clock, and again I got to experience this ingenious creation. Both a homage to cinema and a clever play on the co-existence of virtual and actual time, the video merges scenes from film noir to 80s classics. Often viewers’ patience can be challenged when film-works are exhibited in galleries, but The Clock defies any such challenge as it can be experienced for long and short periods, and warrants multiple visits at different times of the day.
To fully grasp the scope of The Clock, the Prospect New Orleans will screen it continuously over the weekends of November 18 and November 25 (from Friday 5pm through Sunday 5pm). Seating is limited as admission to the installation will be on a first-come, first-serve basis with no time limits for viewers, so be prepared to queue. But trust me – its worth making the time for.