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About Time: Creative Writing Around The Clock

Christian Marclay, The Clock 2010. Single channel video. Duration: 24 hours © the artist. Courtesy White Cube, London and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

Experiment with new ways of writing inspired by Christian Marclay’s celebrated installation

This five-week creative writing course uses Christian Marclay’s 24-hour film The Clock as a springboard for experiments in writing inspired by film, time, repetition and everyday life.

Using a wide range of creative exercises, collaborations and group discussions, participants will experience and experiment with different ways of writing with film. They will benefit from extended out-of-hours opportunities to view Marclay’s work, as well as visits to other moving image works in Tate’s collection.

The course is led by poet and writer James Wilkes, and requires no prior experience or knowledge.

Course Structure

Week 1: Continuous Present

Explore the potential of film’s continuous present through a group viewing of The Clock, a discussion and a writing exercise.

Week 2: Collage, Constraint, Routine

Take inspiration from Valérie Mréjen’s work Manufrance 2006 to make your own constrained, collage-based text, and visit The Clock a second time.

Week 3: Narration and Image

Explore the history of silent film narration and create your own collaborative narration.

Week 4: The Same River Twice

Visit Nazgol Ansarinia’s looped film Living Room 2005, and experiment with repetition and looping in your own writing.

Week 5: Cuts and Rhythms

A third visit to Marclay’s work leads to a discussion of rhythm in writing and film, and an exercise in using parataxis (jump-cuts) in your writing.


James Wilkes writes poetry and short fiction, makes work for installation and performance, and carries out archival and scholarly research. He works across disciplines, making creative work that draws on the cognitive sciences, sound studies and cultural geography. He has a PhD from the London Consortium, University of London, on the cultural history of landscape, and has taught courses and workshops at the University of East Anglia, Birkbeck College, Southbank Centre, Tate Modern and Tate Britain.

​This event has been provided by Tate Gallery on behalf of Tate Enterprises LTD.​

Tate Modern

London SE1 9TG
Plan your visit


Every Monday at 18.45–20.45

22 October – 19 November 2018

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