by Lynn on November 11, 2012

in The Passionate Playgoer

At the Power Plant. Harborfront. Created by Christian Marclay.

At the Power Plant until November 25.

The Clock is an astonishing piece of filmic art. It’s an homage to time, clocks and film. Christian Marclay is a sound and video artist. He took thousands of bits and pieces from an huge array of films, both vintage and modern; English language and foreign and created a film focusing on time. Every minute of a 24 hour day is noted in this film. There are shots of wrist watches, clocks of every description, from Big Ben to clock towers, all showing the time and how it passes, second by second.

Characters are always checking their watches. They note how late others are; how long they have been kept waiting. Pizza must be delivered in seven minutes or it’s free to the customer and the pizza shop owner will be out of pocket for it. The delivery boy has been unreliable. Will he make it in time this time?

Bombs are set to go off at a certain time. Watches are checked in one fragment. Seconds tick by in another fragment. An explosion is heard in another. A fire-ball roars up a tunnel towards us. Which segues to a projectile hitting Oliver Hardy (of Laurel and Hardy fame) in the forehead, startling him, in yet another fragment.

The Clock has its own pockets of drama. Besides bombs going off, there are countdowns to gunfights; altercations; lift-offs of various sorts. Sometimes Marclay introduces scenes of people waiting in line for a store to open. A clock above the door shows the time. People in line read. He cuts away to other unrelated scenes, cutting back to show the passage of time and a longer line of people waiting outside the store.

The Clock is also full of wit, whimsy and gentle humour. A character in one scene flips open his notepad, followed by another fragment of a boy reading a piece of paper that looks like it could have come from that notepad, only the writing is in Japanese. Marclay is always introducing moments, cutting away from then and revisiting them later. We come to expect that no scene stands alone. It is connected to these seemingly disjointed, unconnected bits.

One of the many stunning realizations is that no matter when you enter the room to watch The Clock, that’s what time it actually is. Only a few people are allowed in at a time. Audience members can sit on comfortable sofas and watch (there is room for 50 to sit on the sofas). Others stand or sit on the floor.

The event is free (which is astonishing). And for some weekends the Power Plant is open 24 hours for those wishing to extend the experience. The Clock only here until November 25. (It’s been here since September 15). It’s a wonderful accomplishment and a stunning, joyful experience. Don’t you miss this.

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