Bowdoin College Museum of Art
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Telephones: by Christian Marclay
February 16, 2012 - June 24, 2012
Media Gallery
Christian Marclay, Telephones, 1995, DVD, Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine, Museum Purchase, Lloyd O. and Marjorie Strong Coulter Fund. Copyright Christian Marclay. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, 2011.32

Before The Clock, the 24-hour filmic montage by Christian Marclay that proved to be a runaway international success in 2011, there wasTelephones (1995). A 7 1/2 minute compilation of Hollywood film clips, Telephones demonstrates the transformative power of Marclay’s editing. Using the narrative arc of a telephone call, he masterfully stitches together excerpts from well-known movies. A recent acquisition by the Museum, Telephones opens with scenes depicting characters dialing the telephone, an activity whose very mechanics, rhythms, and sonic properties have changed considerably with successive technologies. Artist and composer Christian Marclay crafts a new narrative from the fragments, one that offers astute observations on cinematic devices, but also outmoded social habits. In this mobile and interconnected age, the telephone, it seems, no longer serves as the site – physical and psychological – that it once did.