Let me start off topic: On Land Festival, I love you. You’re awesome. Please come back. That said, even though On Land is sorely missed, it is far from the only great event for San Francisco’s experimental music fans. For starters, we have our own Electronic Music Festival, which has been getting the city acquainted with serious avant-garde music practitioners since 2000. This year it runs from Thursday, September 8th to Sunday, September 11th at the SF MOMA and the Brava Theater Center.
The big draw of this edition is perhaps Christian Marclay, the legendary artist who recently got honored with a Venice Biennale Golden Lion and a Whitney Museum exhibition. The work that made a lot of buzz was The Clock, a mind-boggling 24-hour video collage composed entirely of film clips, each of which tells you what time it is. He has created similar videos before: Video Quartet features fragments of movies where characters play music or sing, and The Phone is woven out of episodes where people pick up the phone. Marclay has been a seminal figure for the contemporary aesthetic, which relies heavily on wholesale appropriation of cultural material and sampling. He has employed those methods not only in his video art but also in his work with sound. In fact, when he started at the end of the 1970s, he wanted to be a musician, not an artist. Marclay has been hailed as one of the fathers of turntablism, which is creating sound compositions with the record player as the main instrument. Oh, the many vinyl records he has tortured to death in his long career. Here is a short film where you can see turntablism in all its glory.
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