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synchronize: what we are all doing at the same time


I watched a tiny piece of Christian Marclay’s The Clock at SF MoMA last week. From 4:37 – 5:05 pm or so. If you’re like me and had not heard of the work before, he (and most likely an army of unpaid interns) stitched together thousands of movie clips that reference time and matched each clip up to the actual time, minute for minute, for 24 hours. I thought it’d be a crazy hodge podgery, but the scenes, despite being from completely different movies, flow into each other quite well and create a unique narrative. It also makes for a great game, who can spot the clock reference first.

What I liked most about it, was thinking about what specific activities are time-bound. Around 5pm I saw:

sitting in an office eying the clock

working in factories

punching time cards

leaving train stations

meeting people

talking on the phone…

This made me think about our synchronous activities. If I’m eating breakfast at 7:30am, how many 1000s of other people are doing the exact same thing at this moment? Doesn’t it remind you of that scene from Amelie? The part where she wonders how many people are having an orgasm at this precise moment. And there’s something very comforting about this normalcy. I find comfort in the communal nature of every task, even if I’m doing it by myself.

What most commonly happens at 12 midnight in movies? New year’s or turning back into a pumpkin. What about 3am? Something dark, dangerous, or naughty?

What else is going on at this precise moment in time?

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