Visual artist and composer Christian Marclay explores the relationship between sound and image through a wide range of media, including sculpture, photography, and video. Among his signature works is Telephones, which traces the arc of an ordinary call through a dazzling montage of vintage film clips.
With a precise, editorial wit, Marclay (born 1955) pieced together approximately 130 clips from classic Hollywood films, resulting in a wildly inventive video narrative that moves easily back and forth in time, as well as between black-and-white and color. Movie stars—ranging from Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, and Katharine Hepburn to Whoopi Goldberg, Tom Hanks, and Meg Ryan—appear to be taking part in an ongoing conversation that ricochets from comedy to film noir, from enchantment to disillusion. Ultimately it is the telephone itself, through all its incarnations from rotary-dial to push-button, that plays the starring role.