Christian Ernest Marclay (born January 11, 1955) is a visual artist and composer. He holds both American and Swiss nationality.
Marclay’s work explores connections between sound, noise, photography, video, and film. A pioneer of using gramophone records and turntables as musical instruments to create sound collages, Marclay is, in the words of critic Thom Jurek, perhaps the “unwitting inventor of turntablism.” His own use of turntables and records, beginning in the late 1970s, was developed independently of but roughly parallel to hip hop’s use of the instrument.
Christian Marclay transforms sounds and music into visible, physical form through a prolific range of performances, collages, sculptures, installations, photographs, and videos. “I’ve always been interested in how sound is visualized,” he explains. Marclay began exploring sound in 1979, in performances in which he would manipulate turntables, playing them as if they were traditional instruments. More recently, he has explored his interest in a related abstract concept—time—by compiling clips from an enormous range of films into a 24-hour, single-channel video titled The Clock (2010). Part working timepiece (it runs in sync with the local time zone), part aural and visual montage (the work includes snatches of dialogue about time and sounds and images of every kind of clock imaginable), the film is a meditation both on time and the depiction of it.