yesterday was the final day of the christian marclay show at the barbican, which is annoying cz i caught it w.an hour to spare and thus can only somewhat impotently tell you that VIDEO QUARTET is the best piece of video art i have EVER SEEN and if you ever get the chance to see it DO!

most of CM’s work = little conceptual sculptures based round Recording Culture, some of them tiny sight gags – a photo of a dog in a flea collar which instantly reminds of the His Matser’s Voice image – and some of them more elaborate: all are precisely and rigorously executed, though more are just funny than deeply resonant, i think (unless you bring your own freight of feelings about Recorded Culture to the picnic)

but it’s obvious even from the various record-sleeve collages – by concept no more far-reaching than an ILM sleeve-led thread, really – that CM has an extraordinary sense of colour and motion

this is what the VIDEO QUARTET exploits: four simultaneous screens, featuring clips from hollywood movies of every era (arty, cheesy, difficult, knockabout) crosscut against one another, the sound of all four screens combining, producing not chaos or cacophony – well a bit of both, actually, but always resolving more than it confuses – as elements of every kind, visual, sonic, narrative, emotive, symbolic, cheekily meta, weave into one another

i’m not a fan of filmed music generally: the picture you get when you concentrate on what you see, in rock, in orchastras, in almost anything, is distracting and even misleading… marclay (who has also worked as a ahem “turntablist” w. new york noiseniks like john zorn) has a real gift, i think, for discovering and amplifying aspects in the images which dramatise the least merely sociological elements in the music, and vice versa; for uncovering deep links and similarities in what would superficially seem unconnected and contradictory material

i think actually describing any of these links and similarities would misrepresent and diminish them: the things itself is rich and funny and odd and moving and addictive

The Brown Wedge