Roadtrip: Ottawa

This past weekend I went on a last-minute road trip to Ottawa. It worked out perfectly, because I had been wanting to go to see the Christian Marclay work The Clock at the National Gallery, and mentioned it to a friend who lives in Vankleek Hill, an hour outside of Ottawa. He wanted to go as well and a mutual friend of ours was even coming that weekend, so I could hitch a ride. I enjoy when spontaneous plans work out perfectly!

Vankleek Hill, as I have mentioned in a previous road trip post, is home to Beau's Brewery. Friday night we arrived after driving through a tremendous snowstorm, to arrive just in time for Windsor Tavern's Steak Night. It might have been the best ten dollar steak I've ever had, but a 6 hour drive through a blizzard (even as a passenger) will do that to you. Seriously though, it was pretty good. Of course we also drank some Beau's.

a frame from "The Clock"
Saturday morning we got up, had breakfast, and headed to Ottawa. It took us a while to get organized and to get there, leaving us about 2 hours at the gallery. We should have given ourselves more time.

The Clock is a film installation by artist Christian Marclay. Marclay, for much of his career, has been experimenting with the idea of remixing and combining media to create new images and sounds. He is a pioneer in the use of records and turntables as musical instruments to create sound collages, and has been called an "inventor of turntablism", because of his early experimentation with the medium that paralleled hip-hop's use. The Clock, which has been called his most ambitious project to date, won the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Biennale in 2011. It is a 24 hour film made up of thousands of clips, carefully constructed so that each clip references time, shows a watch, clock or time keep of some sort, and each reference matches up to the actual time of day you are viewing it.

The work is truly magical. It is amazing how many references the artist has found. You find yourself wondering how much time it took him to find all of the clips, and then how much time he must have spent editing them. Research tells me that it took nearly 21 years and the help of assistants to produce. That doesn't surprise me in the least, it is truly something to behold and imagining one person completing it on their own is almost impossible.

The editing of the film, both the sound and the visual, are also parts of the magic. Sounds overlap, clips start, then are returned to later. We watched the installation for just over an hour and half and it wasn't enough, we had to be asked to leave, looking over our shoulders as we walked out. The Clock is on at the National Gallery until March 25, and comes to Toronto's Power Plant in September. I will go again to watch more of the film and I suggest you do as well.

Saturday evening we went and had a meal at The Heart and Crown in Byward market, which was yummy but the service made for the experience not being particularly blog-worthy. Following that we went to the Dominion Tavern, to check out some live music. A few Beau's and a horn-section later, we hit the road back to VKH for the night.
1000 Island's Span Bridge

Sunday, the ride home was extended with a stop in Watertown, NY. Watertown is just across the 1000 Islands Bridge near Kingston, Ontario. Our destination was Maggie's, a riverside eatery converted from a former factory building, that boasted a wide range of craft beers on tap. Unfortunately, it seems that Maggie's has had some legal troubles of late and didn't have their liquor license.

We made the best of it with an american-style lunch (by which I mean, it involved a lot of american-style cheese) and stopped at Bear Town, a shop that specializes in beer! Kegs of beer, bottles of beer, all varieties from all over America. It was quite a shop. They had 20oz cans of Red Bull! (Just a cool 190mg of caffeine in those bad boys.)

A weekend away was just what I needed to clear my mind and get ready for the upcoming week that is jam-packed with events. Oshawhat Magazine is celebrating this Friday with a launch party, Broken Arts are hosting their fair on Saturday (I'll have a painting there, and a written piece in their new zine) and Sunday there's a curator's talk at work. Busy busy, as always!

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