Preparing for Tonight's 24-Hour Art Experience

July 28, 2011
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I can’t imagine there are many people who I could convince to spend 24 hours in a movie theater, and even fewer (myself included) who could stay awake for all that time—but I know someone who is going to try.  Starting today at 5 pm and through tomorrow at 5 pm, LACMA will once again hold a free screening of Christian Marclay’s The Clock. Edited together from hundreds of clips of movies and television, the day-long montage is synchronized to local time and functions as a working timepiece with each clip featuring a clock, a watch, someone acknowledging the time, etc.

Christian Marclay, The Clock (still), 2010, purchased with funds provided by Steve Tisch through the 2011 Collectors Committee

This is a cinematic and artistic experience that 78-year-old Isabel Callahan does not intend to miss.  After reading Kenneth Turan’s July 8th article in the Los Angeles Times, Isabel  took his advice to heart and not only plans to check out The Clock, but plans to stay for the entire 24 hours.  As the daughter of a Paramount Studios art director, Isabel has been interested in film since she was a child.  In fact, she recalls spending many days in her childhood at a theater on Pico Boulevard paying a nickel to see a double feature. Hopefully those double features have helped prepare her for the day-long cinematic undertaking she is about to experience.

Of course, Isabel isn’t too worried about the difficulty of 24 hours of staring at a screen. She does experience chronic pain, but that is one of only two concerns.  Her only other worry is missing this opportunity.  Isabel said to me, “I never want to regret anything the rest of my life.”  (Based on what I’ve seen of The Clock, I’m sure it will live up to her expectations.)  Like she said, if Christian Marclay put so much time and effort into this work, she’d like to honor his genius by devoting 24 hours of her own time, as well.

Maybe she can take some advice from Sean Hathwell, who saw all 24 hours when we screened The Clock in May: “Wear comfortable clothes.” Sean, along with Christian Marclay, curator Christine Y. Kim, and others was interviewed by the public radio show Studio 360 about the experience of The Clock.

Enjoy the all-day screening of The Clock (however much of it you can see) and best of luck to you, Isabel.  I’m certainly pulling for you!

Meghan Adamovic, Education and Public Programs