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The Swiss-American video artist/composer/musician Christian Marclay has produced captivating work exploring the relationships between image and sound. Just as in his masterpiece The Clock (Golden Lion Venice Biennale), he has constructed a montage of hundreds of film clips for Everyday, which serves as a visual score for a five-piece ensemble with Marclay himself on turntables and electronics. The moving images are part of the performance. The audience can witness how the musicians make use of the freedom for interpretation given to them by the film. They can allow themselves to be swept away by a hypnotic, exciting and virtuoso performance in which the mundane and the exceptional acquire new meaning through a new story.
Programme (including The Bell and The Glass)
- video + turntables
- Christian Marclay
- video operator
- Paul Anton Smith
- Steve Beresford
- John Butcher
- Mark Sanders
- Alan Tomlinson
- with participation of
- Marchingband A.T.M.
- Aldeburgh Music
- commissioned by
- Aldeburh Faster than Sound
- with support of
- The Henry Moore Foundation
- Paul Hamlyn Foundation
With improvisation, I just do it. It might be a total failure but then you just throw the dice again.Christian Marclay about Everyday in The Telegraph
Everyday is a new musical film performance by Christian Marclay and his ensemble, with Steve Beresford on piano, John Butcher on saxophone, Mark Sanders on percussion, Alan Tomlinson om trombone and Christian Marclay himself on turntables and electronics. The work is a montage of hundreds of 'found' film clips, just as in Marclays masterpiece The Clock ( which won the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale), which serves as a score for the musicians. With graphical scores (i.e. scores where conventional notation is replaced by a usually ad hoc visual representation of the music that is intended) it's often (expressly) unclear whether it's a direct representation of the musical goal or whether the score is more of a guide for improvisation. Whatever the case may be, the big advantage with Everyday is that the audience can watch the score on a huge screen as it's being played. So there's no 'mystery of the score' for the audience, as you'll find with most other performances of (graphically or otherwise) notated music.
Just as there are thematic groupings appearing in The Clock (because, for instance, at 7 in the morning many people will get up in films, or, in the evening, many will be having dinner), Everyday also has a number of clear groupings, be it that they are more consciously construed in this film. There is, for instance, a long sequence of shots and scenes in which a record is played. It's kind of intriguing and at the same time somewhat humoristic to see how such a trivial act has been put to film in scores of movies. There are also more abstract 'clouds of combinations', for instance scenes in which someone or something knocks, bells ring and buzzers sound, as if to say 'watch out, it's starting'. Other such sequences are of people and things falling and of eruptions of violence. The records do constitute a recurring theme in Everyday though, tying in with Marclay's presence as a turntablist. Now and then the musicians respond quite literally to the picture, for instance with a long spell of silence when a film star from way back walks through the house with a record in his hands, followed by a collective outburst when he finally has arrived at the turntable and the needle hits the vinyl. There are also more abstract scenes, such as a long close-up of a needle suspended above a spinning record, which allow for more free improvisations. It's in these instances that the musicians prove that they are all excellent improvisers playing in a controlled manner.
Sometimes Marclay chooses to reduce the size of the images and project them on the part of the screen (left, right, centre) that corresponds with the position of the musician playing a solo at that point. Frequently, the audio of the original scenes can be heard and, possibly not accidentally, there are many scenes in which music is played, which the live musicians can respond to, sometimes leading to hilarious 'dialogues'. The scenes vary from violin solos to countless pianos and sequences of marching show bands. By the way, Marclay has a special surprise in store in connection with the latter of these. All these elements put together make for an intriguing show, in which a fantastic, hypnotic, witty and very cleverly constructed work of art is combined with the often surprising, improvising musical interpretations of a number of top musicians.
The Swiss American artist and composer Christian Marclay produces groundbreaking work in which he makes use of 'found' fragments of film and sound to explore our modern culture. Marclay was born in California and grew up in the Swiss city of Geneva. His mother was an American, his father Swiss. Between 1975 and 1977 he studied at the École Supérieure d'Art Visuel in Geneva and from 1977 to 1980 at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. In 1978 he was also a guest student at Cooper Union in New York. Marclay was a turntablist avant la lettre; the first DJ who in the late seventies, simultaneously with but independent of the hip hop movement, started experimenting with the manual manipulation of turntables, as in scratching. Marclay used the record player to manipulate, deconstruct and reconstruct music. His LP Encores (1988) was built up from physically cut and pasted vinyl material of various records. This process of putting found objects into a new context is still guiding his work today. As well as with his albums, Marclay also created collages from fragments of album covers, producing new and sometimes surreal compositions (Body Mix, 1991-92), including a series of Deutsche Grammaphon conductors with the legs of Tina Turner.
Since the beginning of the milennium Marclay is making audiovisual work which further explores the relations between (moving) image and sound. In The Bell and the Glass (2003) he juxtaposes in image and sound two icons of the city of Philadelphia: the Liberty Bell and Marcel Duchamp's famous art work The Large Glass. On top of that, the film also serves as an audiovisual score for a small ensemble to improvise on the images and sounds. Other such video scores which Marclay has produced in the last ten years are Screen Play, Shuffle and his latest work Everyday. All three of these works are performed at the Holland Festival 2013.
Marclay's most famous work is The Clock (2010), for which he created a 24 hour audiovisual composition from existing film footage which in some way depicts a particular time of day, so that the art work itself can be perceived or used as an audiovisual 24 hour clock. The Clock was first exhibited at London's White Cube Gallery and has since toured the world. In 2011, it was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale.