It's About Time (Kids)

Martin Creed. Work No. 227: The Lights Going On And Off. 2000

Martin Creed. _Work No. 227, The Lights Going On And Off_. 2000

Electrical timer (frequency five seconds on/five seconds off), Dimensions variable. Fund for the Twenty-First Century. © 2018 Martin Creed

Artist, Martin Creed: My name is Martin Creed. And this is my work Lights Going On and Off in the Room. And it’s work #227. I give them all numbers. The work is the whole room activated by using the lights. And the room includes the people in the room. Yeah.

Narrator: When you look at a painting or sculpture, you know what you should be looking at. But in Martin Creed’s art, you can look anyplace.

Martin Creed: You can look at a floor, or the ceiling, or the walls. They’re all equal; they’re all just as important, or just as unimportant. The work’s everywhere.”

Narrator: To Creed, the work is like music filling the space. And like a piece of music, it can be created anywhere, just by following the instructions.

Martin Creed: You could make it at home. You know, every time a piece is played, it’s making itself in front of you, in time. And that’s the way also I think of the lights going on and off.

Narrator: Do you know how to count seconds? Lots of people go…

[Layered voices “One Mississippi, Two Mississippi, Three Mississippi…”]

Each “Mississippi” is a second. Now, as you’re standing in this room, try counting how many seconds the lights are on. And how many seconds they’re off. Ready?

Artists make lots of choices as they work. But Creed, like many people, finds it hard to make up his mind.

Martin Creed: One of the ways that this piece came about was just thinking, I want to do something in a room, but I don’t know if I should have the lights on or off.

Narrator: He even wrote a song called “I Don’t Know What I Want.”

[Bring up song quietly and under]

Martin Creed: It’s about not knowing what I want. (Laughs) Which I don’t. I’m totally sure I don’t know what I want.

Narrator: Some things Creed does know, however:

Martin Creed: I’m looking for excitement. And fun and joy. And the work I do is a search for that.

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