In Christian Marclay's Telephones, short clips extracted from a broad range of Hollywood films are spliced together to create something like a coherent storyline. This narrative arc consists of a series of vignettes in which a variety of well-known actors-from Humphrey Bogart to Meg Ryan-act out the separate phases of a single call in sequence: the phone is dialed, it rings, it is answered, the characters converse briefly, and the phone is hung up. At certain moments, the clips seem to transition naturally into one another, as if the actors were actually conversing across the gulfs of time and context that separate them: a call placed by Whoopi Goldberg, for example, is answered incongruously by Orson Welles and then terminated by Clint Eastwood. Telephones can be interpreted as a piece of experimental music or sound poetry as much as it can be considered video art.¶
b. 1955, San Rafael, California; lives in New York
Color video, with sound
7 min., 30 sec.
Collection Pérez Art Museum Miami, gift of Debra and Dennis Scholl