Infinitely Curious

Seeking a Renaissance in San Francisco

Christian Marclay: “Graphic Scores”

A visitor performs Christian Marclay’s “Chalkboard”

Christian Marclay is a visual artist and composer based out of New York City, who has delved into the art of fusion.  Fusion between the auditory and the visual.  Known as the pioneer of turntablism, Marclay has experimented with the art of unintended sound for most of his career.  Of late, Marclay has been blending the visual with the auditory, giving physical forms to sounds and scores or creating melodies out of visual masterpieces.

His latest audio/visual interpretations are being exhibited at New York City’s Whitney Museum of American Art.  The Christian Marclay Festival opened at the Whitney on July 1 and will run through Sept. 26.  Using sculptures, installations, photography, and video, he has created “graphic scores” for his viewership.  The exhibit also invites musicians to perform Marclay’s interpretations everyday, and urges viewers to help compose a communal piece, by marking up a wall-sized chalkboard of staff lines with musical notes.

Many of Marclay’s past works have been centered around fusing unintended sounds and sound bites from various sources to create a new masterpiece.  He has manipulated records, cut them into pieces and molded them with totally different records to create a new, abstract collage of sounds.  Here are videos of some of his works that I find quite curious.

The below clip (from a Marclay documentary) shows a brief snippet from his 1995 piece, Telephones, which fuses telephone calls from several vintage films.

In this next clip, entitled Video Quartet, Marclay manipulates fragments of videos of various musicians to create a piece with any 4 instruments playing at a given time.  The piece showcases Jimi Hendrix on guitar, Meryl Streep on violin, and Ella Fitzgerald singing, among other musicians who rotate for their chance in the Video Quartet.

His concept of art is still a bit new to me, as I’ve mainly experienced various forms of art in their independent states.  But as I’ve mentioned before, in the current age of fusion and new creations, Marclay’s work (which is neither stagnant art nor continuous film) may just be the next step!  Be sure to check out his current exhibit at the Whitney if you are in Manhattan!


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