City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Is 24 Hour Psycho Playing Now?


By edg - Posted on 08 August 2014

Museum of modern art "landform"

The Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art (aka Modern One) was looking picture perfect today. People lounged on the "landform" in the sun. The Pig Rock Bothy leaned. There was a cool summer breeze.

The bout of pleasant weather appeared to have emptied the gallery of people. Inside, sun streamed through the large gallery windows and pooled on the wooden floors.

As I sauntered through the rooms taking in the Generation exhibition - a 25 year retrospective of Scottish contemporary art - it all seemed very tranquil. Even the sound of a bottle being repeatedly smashed, part of a video loop installation which you encounter entering the main corridor, faded into a rhythmic pulse at the back of my mind.

Then I turned into the darkened room with Douglas Gordon's 24 Hour Psycho (1993), and the hairs on the back of my neck suddenly stood on end.

Norman Bates was moving very, very gradually across a room in Alfred Hitchcock's famous thriller slowed down from 24 to two frames a second. He seemed to be moving with intent. To the shower? Not sure.

After the initial frisson, I stayed a minute or two, admiring the way the picture had been crafted and appreciating Anthony Perkins' full immersion in his character, before deciding to escape the excruciatingly slowness of the film, and head back into the sun.

Douglas Gordon said he thought it would be interesting to imagine people who saw the slowed-down film reflecting, some time later in the day, on what was playing in the gallery right then.

It's 2.15am. Is 24 Hour Psycho playing right now?