ABOUT TIME: on Masha Tupitsyn’s “Laconia: 1200 Tweets on Film” and Christian Marclay’s “The Clock”

Here, with minor edits, is a piece written originally for the first iteration of the Glasgow Review of Books. It appeared online in June 2011, and as that version of the site has not been archived, I am re-posting it here. (Image credit: The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.)


Take these notes as the continuation of a conversation. Tupitsyn’s tweets are a series of moments between 2009 and 2010. Marclay’s film is a series of moments from the beginning of cinema until now. Both form constellations from a time that extends both backwards and forwards. Tangents, reformulations, ideas followed up or discarded.


Don DeLillo’s Point Omega begins and ends with detailed descriptions of people in a gallery watching Douglas Gordon’s 24 Hour Psycho, where a nameless man has come back repeatedly, mesmerised by the elongation of action, his attention focused on the separation of each miniscule movement.

Christian Marclay’s The Clock is currently screening at the Centre for Contemporary Art in Glasgow. It is a twenty-four hour film, a collage of cinematic moments featuring clocks, watches and characters checking, talking about, and running out of time, minute by minute. You are drawn in to an experience that recalls the “city symphonies” of the 1920s by Dziga Vertov, Walter Ruttman, and Alberto Cavalcanti, whose day-in-the-life of Paris was called Rien que les heuresNothing But The Hours or Nothing But Time. The one-day novels, too: UlyssesMrs Dalloway, DeLillo’s Cosmopolis.

Johnny Depp is followed by William Klein’s Polly Magoo, who is followed by a crackly Japanese board room scene featuring a giant clock, which is followed by an agitated John Travolta. Despite their complexions and carefully lit profiles, stars too fall prey to the lure of the timepiece. Angelina Jolie stands on a wooden promontory overlooking a desert and checks her watch. Robert Redford waits for a contact in a diner’s booth, worrying about shifting sands. Jason Schwartzman realises the woman of his dreams isn’t coming to the event he’s laid on for her.


Humanity’s attention is focused on the miniscule movement of the hands of the clock. Continue reading “ABOUT TIME: on Masha Tupitsyn’s “Laconia: 1200 Tweets on Film” and Christian Marclay’s “The Clock””