Christian Marclay’s monumental 2010 piece “The Clock”, is almost finished with it’s residency at MoMA, which is staying open all night for the endurance cinephiles out there. That piece won Marclay the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale, and will be chattered about for decades to come, raising Maclay’s star all the while. Everyone has said everything nice about it, but for you book-loving people here’s a quip from Zadie Smith (thanks wikipedia).
…is neither bad nor good, but sublime, maybe the greatest film you have ever seen, and you will need to come back in the morning, in the evening, and late at night, abandoning everything else, packing a sleeping bag, and decamping to the Paula Cooper Gallery until sunrise.
image from discogs.com
However, the project pictured, Shuffle, came along before all that. Aperture published this set of 75 cards in 2007. We first learned of Christian Marclay through his also-collectible 1985 work “Record Without a Cover,” a discovery that came while writing about music that is set free by it’s composer. Marclay’s “Record” is shipped (and ideally stored) “Without a Cover”. Over the course of its existence, the recording becomes increasingly composed of the scratches accumulated through its being a naked record in the world.
The sonic output of a Shuffle performance is similarly out of the hands of the composer, although it employs an entirely different and less poetic strategy. Shuffle is a deck of cards, a series of 75 photographs, collected from our everyday world, which is littered with musical symbols. Notes, staves and clefs appear on jackets, tattoos, mugs, signs. Like an Bill Cunningham photo-spread as John Zorn’s Cobra with a bit of Cage’s anarchy, these appropriated images are pulled at random as flash cards and become “sheet music” for the performers of Shuffle.
More details on the project on the Aperture site. If you’d like to see it in action here’s a video of a performance by La Générale d’Expérimentation.
still from La Générale d’Expérimentation