RTV: Christian Marclay

Release Date: Wednesday, April 21, 2010

RTV sits down with Christian Marclay and listens as he demonstrates his various techniques of manipulating sounds.

Marclay manipulates a variety of stylistically “meaningful” music, test tones, and sound effects recordings as well as surface scratches, clicks, skips, and pops in his richly layered, transforming mixes. He says, “in my work, the process is very important, to be able to see it and hear it,” which is captured in close detail as multiple cameras scan every movement of his engrossing, surreal performance. He explains his record without a cover (similar to Marcel Duchamp’s Large Glass), his method of marking and cutting records (“scores”) for performances, the Guitar Drag, and his visual works.

Aired on rTV: 2000
Performance date: 11/07/1996
Episode release date: 04/21/2010
Host: Phoebe Legere
Produced by Jim Staley
Directed by Matt Mehlan


Once a student at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, Christian Marclay became more fascinated by the energy of punk rock music and the aesthetics of performance art as practiced by artists like Vito Acconci and Joseph Beuys. In 1980, he organized a festival called Eventworks to explore the influence of rock music on the art world, and began to make improvised performances with thrift store records to which he would attach objects to loop the tracks. In 1979, he discovered old audio-visual department-style turntables manufactured by Califone, which would become his “instruments.”