(Dis)embodiment in Christian Marclay's telephonic series and Video quartet
Matthews, Emelie Forrest
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This study considers assorted works by the contemporary American artist Christian Marclay (b. 1955). Chapter one focuses on a series that takes the telephone as its nominal subject. I argue that this series is best understood as representing concurrent changes in communication technology. In chapter two, I consider a seemingly unrelated work, Video Quartet. This complex video uses appropriated images and sounds to summon the sublime. I suggest that the video marks a shift in how the sublime is conceived. In sum, my thesis conjoins works not previously linked and argues that, however different, these works can be understood through the common theme of embodied experience. Considering how technology allows for disembodied experiences, it will be argued that Marclay’s work oscillates between embodied and disembodied experiences. Thus, these works emphasize the importance of physical and sensorial interactions in an age that increasingly relies on disembodiment as a means of experience.