Untitled (Music Box)
Christian Marclay, 2005
Christian Marclay was born in California, raised in Switzerland, and is based in New York City. The cultural implications of music and sound are central to his sculptures, installations, videos, and performances. In the 1970's and independent of the hip-hop movement, Marclay was one of the first people to use turntables as musical instruments, earning him the title of the "unwitting inventor of turntablism" by critic Thom Jurek. Since that time, Marclay has performed and recorded with musicians including William Hooker, Elliot Sharp, John Zorn, and Sonic Youth, among many others. For this project, Marclay composed Tinsel—a seamless melodic loop without beginning or end that incorporates the gradual slowing of the unwinding mechanism within a music box.
Like much of his other work, this project plays with our expectations by putting an unpredictable spin on something both recognizable and traditional. The box also incorporates a sly triple word play: "Silent" on the box's exterior, "Listen" on the interior, and "Tinsel," the name of the composition, are anagrams of one another. Untitled (Music Box) was made in Sainte-Croix by Reuge, the last remaining manufacturer of music boxes in Switzerland.