Doing anything for 24 hours straight is bad. Think about your favourite thing. Maybe you want to do it for two hours, three tops. But 24? That’s madness. Only a lunatic would ask that of you.

Enter American visual artist and composer Christian Marclay. Right now at ACMI you can see his ambitious, challenging work The Clock, a 24-hour long collage of film and TV clips refencing time, edited chronologically to synchronise with real-world time.

Even the most dedicated cinema lover would struggle to sit through the entire thing, but The Clock is so captivating in its strangeness that you’ll want to at least try giving a sizeable part of your day (or night) over to it. But you must be prepared. You must be strong of heart and resolute in your goal. You must bring a butt pillow.

Here’s a guide to surviving The Clock:

It’s an obvious one. Caffeine keeps you awake – particularly for those who want to go into ACMI before work on a Friday and watch The Clock’s early-morning sequences – and coffee is delicious. But you don’t have to settle for a convenience store brew (no judgement if that is your actual brew of choice, follow your bliss, etc.). Dukes Coffee Roasters on Flinders Lane is walking distance from ACMI and serves up delicious filter coffees. You should probably also pick up a cherry danish or chocolate biscuit while you’re there. You know, for energy.

Encourage circulation
Your mind may want to take in as much kooky art cinema as possible, but that doesn’t mean your body will be up to the task. Achy knees and pins-and-needles could seriously hamper your experience. Think about approaching The Clock like you would a long-haul flight – do some exercises like forward bends, toe raises and ankle rolls. These stretches are subtle enough that you won’t look like you’re doing some sort of experimental dance in your seat, but effective enough to keep your legs from going numb.

Dress for comfort
You’ve decided to embrace the comeback of the low-rise jean? Fantastic. But will it seem that fantastic when you’re sitting in a chair for three hours with the waistband slowly working its way into your organs? Probably not. Don’t wear anything that’s too uncomfortable to sit in for a long period time – basically, if it feels like you’re severing your body in half, it’s too tight. Also, remember that it’s always a bit cooler in a cinema than you expect it to be, so bring a cardie.

Eat a proper meal
If you want to visit The Clock for a significant amount of time, make sure you eat a decent meal beforehand. If you’re looking for a hearty brunch, Magic Mountain Saloon serves decadent dishes such as chicken rendang and mozzarella roti toasties, crumpets with pandan and coconut cream, and chicken and kaffir lime scotched eggs. At Cumulus Inc. also close to ACMI, try the smoked trout on buckwheat waffles and bacon baps.

For a carby lunch or dinner that’ll fuel you for hours, you should probably order a big bowl of pasta. Depending on the time of day, you could visit The Cellar Bar for buttery tortellini with sage and pumpkin or a classic lasagne, or The Waiters Restaurant for ricotta ravioli (and a tiramisu for dessert).

Don’t be afraid to go solo
For some people, the idea of going to a movie alone is a frightening prospect. But those who have tasted the sweet freedom of a solo dinner or trip to the pictures will know how liberating the experience is. You can arrive and leave at your leisure, without worrying about your companions getting bored – or feeling obliged to stay longer than you’d like. Be bold! Be by yourself!

The Clock is at ACMI until March 11, 10am to 5pm daily, and all night every Thursday. Entry is free. Details here.

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