Christian Marclay’s celebrated 24-hour movie montage The Clock synchronises the time of screen fiction with the viewer’s sense of time in ‘real life’. I had my first opportunity to experience (a couple of hours of) this work in a visit to the Tate Modern in London in January 2019 and this video is, in part, a response to that encounter. As someone who also makes use of clips from movies in my video essays, The Clock prompted me to think about the way video essays typically re-articulate the sense of time apparent in their source material. More specifically, in relation to my research on record-playing moments in American Independent Cinema, Marclay’s installation prompted me to consider the temporal features of such musical moments. I tried to create something quite open-ended that embodies thinking about time, timelines and timing in video essays, film song sequences and also the rituals of record playing (whether enacted onscreen or off).
Just one note about the material used in my video. The first multi-screen features the ‘needle-drop moment’ of 36 song sequences from films also compiled in my Indy Vinyl supercuts . The second multi-screen (occupying the right-hand side of the screen) shows the rest of these sequences, up until the moment that the song associated with the needle-drop ceases to be heard.
This video features in the Sight and Sound poll of best video essays of 2019. In the poll, film theorist and curator Jiri Anger notes:
“Garwood’s research project on record-playing moments in American independent cinema keeps growing, with the aforementioned video being the most exciting instalment so far. Not unlike its role model, Christian Marclay’s 24-hour museum blockbuster, the video essay plays with the ambivalence of cinematic phantasmagoria, deconstructing it yet affirming its mysterious pull. Nevertheless, the way Garwood organises the clips into convoluted multi-screens and editing software interfaces makes this video so much more than a supercut-by-numbers, turning it into a poignant example of reflective videographic nostalgia.”