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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Profiling Christian Marclay

Daniel Zalewski‘s profile of Christian Marclay, maker of The Clock, in the March 12 New Yorker, isn’t on line, but it’s one of the best reads of the month. Across twelve-and-a-half pages, Zalewski pores over the pre-digital artwork of the 57-year-old artist, and also describes the stages of his process that led to the 24-hour museum sensation. In the 1990s, Marclay may have been one of the first DJs to employ scratching, and his roots as a sound artist emerge both in the attentive remix of soundtracks in The Clock as well as other pursuits. Here’s a taste of Zalewski’s prose, as he describes a collaboration Marclay had in late November in New York at a turntable performance by Tokyo sound artist Otomo Yoshihide. “Wearing a blue sweatshirt, he ran his fingers over the phonograph stylus, as if he were playing the piano, lending percussive flair to the LP that he’d chosen—a string-heavy soundtrack. Then he fondled the needle, the sensual gesture creating an awful hissing sound. He played a jazz record covered with a masking-tape “X.” Then he tried out several new moves: he crumpled a paper record sleeve into a ball and tossed in onto the whirring vinyl, where it careered into the stylus like a bumper car. He slapped records against the side of the turntable, creating an earthquakey rumble. He and Otomo barely looked at each other, but by listening carefully they built a solid structure—interludes of call and response, a moment of peak intensity, a controlled fade to silence. As with The Clock, Marclay was making a big gesture from a series of small ones.” [The New Yorker, March 12, 2012.]

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“The evening’s curious vanity and irrelevance stay with me, if only because those qualities characterize so many of Hollywood’s best intentions. Social problems present themselves to many of these people in terms of a scenario, in which, once certain key scenes are licked (the confrontation on the courthouse steps, the revelation that the opposition leader has an anti-Semitic past, the presentation of the bill of participants to the President, a Henry Fonda cameo), the plot will proceed inexorably to an upbeat fade. Marlon Brando does not, in a well-plotted motion picture, picket San Quentin in vain: what we are talking about here is faith in a dramatic convention. Things “happen” in motion pictures. There is always a resolution, always a strong cause-effect dramatic line, and to perceive the world in those terms is to assume an ending for every social scenario… If the poor people march on Washington and camp out, there to receive bundles of clothes gathered on the Fox lot by Barbra Streisand, then some good must come of it (the script here has a great many dramatic staples, not the least of them in a sentimental notion of Washington as an open forum, cf. Mr. Deeds Goes to Washington), and doubts have no place in the story.”
~ Joan Didion On Hw’d In 1970

CAMPION: We were driving around the countryside the other day, and we happened to chance upon a lone bull and cow going through some sex rituals. I was so surprised to see how lengthy the whole process was for this bull. He started licking the cow’s shin and worked his way quite laboriously up toward her ass. And every now and again, you thought, “Maybe she’s ready now—he’ll try a quick move.”
TAYLOR-JOHNSON: She wasn’t ready.
CAMPION: She made it clear that that wasn’t the case. We couldn’t even wait; it was like 15 minutes, but it was really adorable. Even when we came back, they were still at it. The foreplay was phenomenal.
TAYLOR-JOHNSON: You don’t think of animal love in that way.
~ Jane Campion And Sam Taylor-Johnson in Interview

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