Catch Replay Marclay at ACMI before the last repeat – February 3rd

January 19, 2008


 Replay Marclay is an exhibition currently showing at ACMI @ Federation Square until Feb 3.  It’s a freebie exhibition showing in the basement and showcases the video/sound art of installation art maestro Christian Marclay.  The exhibition was first conceived in France and is doing the rounds in ACMI until February 3rd. As you walk down the stairs you hear the first exhibition, and at the bottom of the stairs you’ll be handed an exhibition pamphlet by an ACMI employee who must either seriously enjoy experimental sound, be well paid or take it in turns, as there seems to be someone down there to greet you throughout the exhibition. The exhibition is in no particular order important to appreciation but if you’re soothed by chronology there seems to be at least a vague nod to this, with his earliest work close to the stairs.  His work is  experimental and conceptual:  you won’t be looking at some MTV video wall – Marclay works with sound as collage – filming people using instruments and records to make sound – but not using them to make music in any conventional way. He also cuts existing film of sounds – some in quite famous films you’ll recognise – to make experimental arrangements.  Sounds intriguing?  Saying any more will definitely spoil the experience a little so to know more escape January’s extreme temperatures (whether it be scorching heat or unexpected rain) and duck into ACMI to take a look fo r yourself. 

The first couple of pieces are interesting insofar as you can see his developing skill and interest in the subject matter of noise bricolage, reassembling sound and vision or focussing on sounds which are not in themselves usually described as ‘musical’ as music.  These themes develop throughout the rest of the exhibition, with several small rooms housing visual and sound pieces of a few minutes each.  

 What is good about Replay Marclay: My personal highlights are ‘guitar drag’ and ‘crossfire’, but telling you too much would possibly change your expectations so I’ll keep this vague but strongly encourage you to see this exhibition even if just for these two spectacular pieces.  Also, it’s free. 

The downside: the early work is a little dodgy in many ways , although it does show his development it has little resonance in comparison to later work.  You might, however, get some ‘daft art for arts sake New York improvisation’ effect from these early pieces. No matter: it probably was daft art for art’s sake but it certainly lead Christian Marclay in more interesting directions later so – art on, Mc Duff!


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