Monday, August 6, 2012

"Just what is it that makes today's cities so disjointed, so anomic?

-- Our God Is Speed aka Greyhoos raises a smile with the title to this picture-post of the architectural collages of Nils-Ole Lund


a sort of mute addendum to his "scattered and increasingly digressive" series of posts on collage in the visual arts


more Lund here 


 c.f. all the talk about vaporwave and the children of Ferraro & Lopatin, or indeed the endless commentary about Marclay's The Clock, the question is: will we ever get past Pop Art?


"Endless" indeed: that's three verdicts offered from a single magazine in a five month stretch this year!


Of the three, the Richard Brody take struck the loudest chord with me. After Clock-watching earlier this year when it came to LA, I concluded that  it was postmodernism's Sistine Chapel - an achievement of grand scale, at once about and in collusion with faithlessness and the desacralisation of art...  a testament to an ever-deteriorating inability to get lost in the work of art (the film, the long-playing record, or indeed the rave - having gone to one at the weekend and been startled by how many people were texting or phone-videoing or otherwise social-mediatising the experience they were only partial-immersed in)


in that sense, truly epochal, deserving of all the column inches


but, as Brody says, a love-less masterpiece...  a delightful disenchantment


a mash-up... the art world equivalent of "Intro Inspection" (and look how someone's labored to depict the appropriate record-covers for every appropriated intro)


enabled by, expressive of, the same digital facility 


the technology itself eloquently speaking its dark will to dis-integrate



  1. Thanks for the likey and the linking.

    But yeah, now that you mention it: WTF is the deal with the NYer's art coverage, which is so so thin and sporadic that it doesn't even (in a weekly, no less) register as "content" in any significant, yet they somehow manage to log three pieces on Marclay's i"The Clock" in the span of about six months? How pathetic.

    Anyway, the "mash-up"/"remix" take on "The Clock"...dunno about that. It's been bandied about a good bit, but it's perhaps too reliant on the artist's previous habit of toying with/abusing vinyl & whatnot?

    I never considered Marclay's early work as being akin to anything so flat-footed as a "remix' or any such thing -- morelike a romp in the ever-amassing landfill of disposable culture, taking the turnover of planned obsolescence and "creative destruction" as a given and going one-better in a proto- act of salvagecore. Sure, there was something very frontally material about it all (this is all only so much stuff), but given that it involved materials ithat were the products of recording and preserving...well yeah, there's a very "object oriented ontology" involved, with Marclay's wanton and brutal abusing of ghosts summoned up from the rubbish bin of unwanted & dead media artifacts and such. All of which was was made more & more frontal by his collages of thrift-store record sleeves, and the waterfall of cassette tapes unspooling, and etc.

    "The Clock" is only vaguely about that sort of thing, and ultimately about something else. Deeply immaterial, in many respects; very "zen" and meditative by comparison to his earlier work. Because there's no physical object, except perhaps for the subject-as-object viewer: the viewer sitting there and watching the moments of their life tick by, but in a montage of the passage of time -- in mediated form of course, but. decontextualized. The stats you hear: 'The average American spends X hours of their day waiting at red lights...or Y hours watching TV or dicking about on the internet...or misses Z visible minutes of each day due to the number of times they blink their eyes...", etc. Marclay's "The Clock" is like having the non-material, non-OOO aspects of all that dumped right in the viewers' laps. Watching a span of your life's moments tick by, counted off & measured this way, mediated this way, as you sit there, what are you...some sort of masochist? No, you're why else would you sit and watch, as your life grows ever shorter?

    Anyway...The only way I can see it being part of a "mash-up" or "remix culture" aesthetic is if it was only being attended by ultra-hardcore film geeks who took in the whole thing as a test (rather than an experience), playing some trainspotting "name that sample" contest the whole time. Which I think would be infinitely more depressing than the "existential" interpretation I mentioned above.

  2. "Watching a span of your life's moments tick by, counted off & measured this way, mediated this way, as you sit there, what are you...some sort of masochist? No, you're why else would you sit and watch, as your life grows ever shorter?"
    -- that's exactly it though, the work seems to be about chronos versus kairos -- standardised measurable time (work, man-hours) versus peak time/ritual time

    when you watch A movie, a great movie, you lose track of time, you enter (as with any great work of art or music or writing) timelessness

    watching this expertly strung together set of pieces from movies plural, you're acutely aware of the passage of time, you can't ever lose yourself in it

    when i entered the museum movie theater to see the Clock i had pre-arranged to meet my family at a certain time outside (joy had already done her turn) but because i knew you were instructed to turn off your phones in the theatre i wondered how i'd know when to leave after my alloted stint... it didn't take me very long to realise how idiotic that worry was..)