Christian Marclay won the Golden Lion award at the 2011 Venice Biennale with The Clock, an astonishing film made up of thousands of hours of film excerpts that form a 24-hour montage. What a tour de force of editing to get just the right film clips from the last 100 years of movie making. The clips often display a watch or a clock with everything from Woody Allen rushing through the streets of NYC to Marlene Dietrich wearing sequins, a veil, and a feathered hat as she’s pined over by a serviceman to Vincent Price sitting on a bench, watching prey caught in a spider web.
How it can inspire is seeing how The Clock holds fast to a theme, but not to material. Time ticks and tocks as the filmmaker throws a wide arc into diverse content. Think of building a collection of short stories focused around the same point in time, but different years. Or perhaps a collection of poetry. And the time doesn’t have to be your biographical time. Tether your work around a theme and you’ll see the freedom in it!