Douglas Gordon, 24 Hour Psycho

British artist's installation based on the 1960 Hitchcock film
Douglas Gordon, '24 Hour Psycho'
24 Hour Psycho, as I see it, is not simply a work of appropriation. It is more like an act of affiliation... it wasn't a straightforward case of abduction. The original work is a masterpiece in its own right, and I've always loved to watch it. [...] I wanted to maintain the authorship of Hitchcock so that when an audience would see my 24 Hour Psycho they would think much more about Hitchcock and much less, or not at all, about me...

In 1993, Scottish artist Douglas Gordon conceived 24 Hour Psycho, an art installation that manipulated the running time of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho to twenty-four hours. The exhibit is featured prominently in Don DeLillo's latest novel, Point Omega, and links to DeLillo's thematic interest in the nature of art, reality, representation, perception, and violence in American popular culture.
The [what have i done] exhibition begins with 24 Hour Psycho (1993), a slowed-down version of Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 film Psycho. A different take on a familiar classic, it introduces many of the important themes in Gordon's work: recognition and repetition, time and memory, complicity and duplicity, authorship and authenticity, darkness and light.

Janet Leigh in Alfred Hitchcock's 'Psycho' (1960)
The slightest camera movement was a profound shift in space and time but the camera was not moving now. Anthony Perkins is turning his head. It was like whole numbers. The man could count the gradations in the movement of Anthony Perkins' head. Anthony Perkins turns his head in five incremental moments rather than one continuous motion. It was like bricks in a wall, clearly countable, not like the flight of an arrow or a bird. Then again it was not like or unlike anything. Anthony Perkins' head swiveling over time on his long thin neck.

It was only the closest watching that yielded this perception. He found himself undistracted for some minutes by the coming and going of others and he was able to look at the film with the degree of intensity that was required. The nature of the film permitted total concentration and also depended on it. The film's merciless pacing had no meaning without a corresponding watchfulness, the individual whose absolute alertness did not betray what was demanded. He stood and looked. In the time it took for Anthony Perkins to turn his head, there seemed to flow an array of ideas involving science and philosophy and nameless other things, or maybe he was seeing too much. But it was impossible to see too much. The less there was to see, the harder he looked, the more he saw. This was the point. To see what's here, finally to look and to know you're looking, to feel time passing, to he alive to what is happening in the smallest registers of motion.

Don DeLillo, Point Omega
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