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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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I do think the polemic of diversity right now is being handled with a lead pipe. It’s talked about in a way that’s not complex— and it’s a very complex issue. It’s not black and white. It’s not a conspiracy to keep women down. It’s a psychology of risk aversion. Women are question marks to the studios The indie world is changing, television is changing, but if you talk about mainstream Hollywood, they’re still looking at a question mark. [So] it’s not some kind of war. It’s people trying to figure out, imperfectly, how to change a culture that has been one way for a really long time. In terms of this movie, though, Sony was on our ass about diversity from day one. They were like, ‘Look: We want you to make your own movie. We just also want to tell you that there are other options, ones that we’re really open to, and here’s all the people we love.’ And those lists, they were the most diverse lists I’ve ever seen.
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