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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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Julian Schnabel: Years ago, I was down there with my cousin’s wife Corky. She was wild — she wore makeup on her legs, and she had a streak in her hair like Yvonne De Carlo in “The Munsters.” She liked to paint. I had overalls on with just a T-shirt and looked like whatever. We were trying to buy a bunch of supplies with my cousin Jesse’s credit card. They looked at the credit card, and then they looked at us and thought maybe we stole the card, so they called Jesse up. He was a doctor who became the head of trauma at St. Vincent’s. They said, “There’s somebody here with this credit card and we want to know if it belongs to you.”

He said, “Well, does the woman have dyed blonde hair and fake eyelashes and look like she stepped out of the backstage of some kind of silent movie, and is she with some guy who has wild hair and is kind of dressed like a bum?”

“Yeah, that’s them.”

“Yeah, that’s my cousin and my wife. It’s okay, they can charge it on my card.”
~ Julian Schnabel Remembers NYC’s Now-Shuttered Pearl Paint

MB Cool. I was really interested in the aerial photography from Enter the Void and how one could understand that conceptually as a POV, while in fact it’s more of an objective view of the city where the story takes place. So it’s an objective and subjective camera at the same time. I know that you’re interested in Kubrick. We’ve talked about that in the past because it’s something that you and I have in common—

GN You’re obsessed with Kubrick, too.

MB Does he still occupy your mind or was he more of an early influence?

GN He was more of an early influence. Kubrick has been my idol my whole life, my own “god.” I was six or seven years old when I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey, and I never felt such cinematic ecstasy. Maybe that’s what brought me to direct movies, to try to compete with that “wizard of Oz” behind the film. So then, years later, I tried to do something in that direction, like many other directors tried to do their own, you know, homage or remake or parody or whatever of 2001. I don’t know if you ever had that movie in mind for your own projects. But in my case, I don’t think about 2001 anymore now. That film was my first “trip” ever. And then I tried my best to reproduce on screen what some drug trips are like. But it’s very hard. For sure, moving images are a better medium than words, but it’s still very far from the real experience. I read that Kubrick said about Lynch’s Eraserhead, that he wished he had made that movie because it was the film he had seen that came closest to the language of nightmares.

Matthew Barney and Gaspar Noé