Video: Christian Marclay on Night Music, 10/29/89
Christian Marclay has been involved in sound and art exploration through the use of turntables since 1979. First using skipping records as rhythm tracks for The Bachelors, Even, his duo with guitarist Kurt Henry, sound has figured into Marclay’s art (or art has figured into Marclay’s sound) since his days as a student at the Massachusetts College of Art.
Video: Marclay and Hirsch perform Zoom Zoom at the USF School of Music Concert Hall, 1/26/12
Marclay’s encyclopedic view of the world around him includes Snapshots, an ongoing series of photographs that depict elements of sound and onomatopoeia found in everyday situations. Marclay’s solo photography exhibition Things I’ve Heard is comprised of about fifty sound-related photographs. Zoom Zoom is a multimedia performance where Marclay selects and displays images in a slideshow created from his photographs of onomatopoeias found primarily on signs, advertising and product packaging, and Shelley Hirsch, critically acclaimed vocalist, composer and performance artist, responds with her own unique vocal improvisation in an ongoing call and response.
Audio: Listen to Melvin Gibbs, Mary Halvorson, Lee Ranaldo, Vernon Reid, and Elliott Sharp perform Marclay’s Graffiti Composition at the Museum of Modern Art, 9/13/06
Since the late 1990s, Marclay has created “graphic” scores, nontraditional forms of notation, for improvisational interpretation by musicians and vocal performers. In 1996, Marclay posted blank musical notation sheets throughout Berlin during sonambiente 1996, a month-long sound art festival. After a month of the sheets being randomly filled, Marclay photographed them, selected 150, and compiled them into a portfolio to be used by musicians to perform.
Graffiti Composition has been performed numerous times in many styles since its creation.
Min Xiao–Fen and Elliot Sharp perform Graffiti Composition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, 7/1/10
Manga Scroll Production
Marclay has worked with Graphicstudio numerous times since 2007. Beginning in 2008, he collaborated with Graphicstudio to produce Manga Scroll, a vocal score composed from onomatopoeias found in manga comics. Manga comics are originally published in Japan, but translated for the U.S. market. This serialized style of anime comic has a long history in Japanese pictorial storytelling, but the modern form began in the post-war era. The handscroll itself is believed to have been invented in India sometime before the fourth century BCE. The earliest illustrated Japanese handscroll still in existence was created in the eighth century.
Onomatopoeia elements were collaged directly from manga comics. Digital films were generated and lithographic plates were made. The sixty-foot scroll was segmented into twenty-five sections and printed onto gampi paper. Gampi paper is called the “King of Paper” because of its very fine fibers, which result in high quality translucent paper with a smooth surface.
Manga Scroll, 2010
Lithographic hand scroll in maple wood storage box
Box: 20 ¾” x 5″ x 5 ⅛”
Scroll: 19″ x 3″ x 3″
Paper: 16″ x 787 ½”
Manga Scroll Performances
Manga Scroll is intended to be interpreted vocally. The scroll itself has been exhibited internationally, with each exhibition including attendant performances of Manga Scroll. The Whitney Museum of American Art presented Christian Marclay: Festival from July 1 to September 26, 2010. During the exhibition Manga Scroll was performed nine times by five different artists.
Video: Joan La Barbara performs Manga Scroll at the Whitney Museum of American Art, 7/18/10
Video: Theo Bleckmann performs Manga Scroll at the Whitney Museum of American Art, 9/2/10
Video: Phil Minton and Christian Marclay live performance at Cafe Oto, 3/5/11
Video: Phil Minton performs Manga Scroll at Cafe Oto, 3/5/11
Video: Elaine Mitchener performs Manga Scroll during KABOOM!: Comics in Art at the Weserburg Museum of Modern Art, 9/26/13
For the October 2011 issue of Wallpaper* Magazine, Marclay served as guest editor and produced a limited-edition cover based on Manga Scroll.
Manga Scroll at USFCAM
On January 26, 2012, Marclay and Hirsch appeared at USF for a performance of Manga Scroll, Zoom Zoom, and a discussion with Margaret Miller, Director of the Institute for Research in Art.