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Audiovisual FILM STUDIES FOR FREE

Selected Videographic Essays and Criticism by Catherine Grant

THEORY OF RELATIVITY

THEORY OF RELATIVITY is an experimental video about 'digitextuality' (or digital intertextuality) and cinephiliac relativity. It was inspired, in part, by "Time and Time Again: Temporality, Narrativity, and Spectatorship in Christian Marclay’s THE CLOCK", an article for the May 2015 issue of CINEMA JOURNAL by film scholar Julie Levinson.

It asks, laterally, what can time-based compilation video projects do with clocks that get stuck, or go haywire, or with forces beyond the temporal, such as ones of attraction like gravity and cinephilia? As the author of the scientific Theory of Relativity Albert Einstein also found, although we usually think of lengths and times as absolute, these do turn out to be observer-dependent.

THEORY OF RELATIVITY meditates on a section from a Hollywood film sequence that Christian Marclay used to mark the important moment of midnight in his monumental 2010 art installation THE CLOCK (see youtu.be/iZe55tTAbw4). And it subsequently takes in the part of the sequence he didn't use (spoilt for choice with midnight moments in the cinema, perhaps). The video further (simultaneously) explores, through remix, a less well known American experimental film about time that was arguably deeply inspired by the film from which Marclay's midnight sequence was taken. The remixed film sequences illustrate, perhaps rather too succinctly for Marclay's compilation, the idea of a 24 hour clock, as also heralded by Alberto Cavalcanti's 1926 experimental film RIEN QUE LE HEURES/NOTHING BUT TIME, released on DVD in the same year as Marclay's THE CLOCK.

[In case anyone should think that a link between these two excerpted films might be considered spurious or, at least, lacking in interest, there is a further, bizarre, real life connection between them, and their two actor-directors, as this video shows: youtu.be/1oqtI517qpI]

Also see: Thom Andersen's great essay on THE CLOCK: cinema-scope.com/features/random-notes-on-a-projection/