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Friday, July 20, 2012

"The Clock" at the Lincoln Center Festival

As you read this, the minutes are ticking by -- both in real life and, perfectly in sync with real time, in Christian Marclay's artwork The Clock. A massive project, The Clock is a 24-hour film collage that takes stills from thousands of films that feature the time to create a seamless, hypnotic journey through a day. Marclay's assistants scoured movies, from classic films to recent Hollywood blockbusters, to find any reference to a character speaking the time, or a clock or a watch displaying the time. Marclay then edited these together to create The Clock, in essence mixing cinematic moments both banal and dramatic into a meditation on how our lives are inexorably governed by the passing of time.

We visited The Clock multiple times last weekend and, being true New Yorkers, kept looking for moments that captured our city on film. It is surprising how infrequently classic views of New York appear. In part this is because the bulk of the shots are indoors (where there are more clocks), but is also due to the fact that New York doesn't really have iconic clocks the way some cities do. (The clock in Grand Central does make some appearances; it is probably the most famous public time piece in the city.) By contrast, barely a few minutes goes by without a shot of London's Big Ben, which must appear in countless films. Often, you can tell that it is just an establishing shot in the background, but since it is always displaying the time, Marclay was able to make use of it dozens of times.

At Lincoln Center, The Clock is on display until August 1, but it only runs continuously Friday at 8:00am to Sunday at 10:00pm. During the week it is open 8:00am-10:00pm and it is closed Mondays.

If you and see any great New York City shots, let us know! For example, we didn't manage to make it to the theater at midnight, but we'd be curious is Cary Grant is at the top of the Empire State Building waiting for Deborah Kerr in An Affair to Remember.

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Read more about the icons of New York City in Inside the Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City

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