“The 40-minute version is edited, but there's something like a 140-hour version. That’s the whole thing."
Sitting in the corner of Frank Ocean's circular staircase workshop in his 45-minute "Endless" video is a giant boombox. The boombox is the work of NYC-based contemporary artist Tom Sachs. In an interview with Pitchfork, Sachs revealed some interesting information about the making of "Endless," most notably that the full cut of the video is about 140 hours long.
"When you see the video, you see him building a stairway to heaven in real time," Sachs said. "The 40-minute version is edited, but there's something like a 140-hour version. That’s the whole thing. That exists, that’s the art piece."
"The thing that we’re all seeing is the short, is the edited version. This version where there are three of them is kind of a compressed experience, where you see three Frank Oceans making the same thing. It’s not unlike the song on Blonde called 'Skyline To.' You hear what sound like a couple of Frank Oceans singing over each other. I think that’s his voice—I know a bunch of other people sing on it—but you hear him unapologetically laying two vocal tracks over each other, the chorus and the refrain. And they overlap in the same way you've got a couple of Frank Oceans building the staircase and a couple of times in the video they cross through each other, impossibly, without colliding."
Sachs asserted that Ocean's slow, meticulous construction of the wooden staircase is meant in part to symbolize the fact that great art takes focus, hard work, and above all, time -- a lesson that he believes is important to remember in today's era, in which art is often considered disposable.
"If things that are made by hand take time, this stands as something that we all can learn from and take an opportunity in whatever our work is and our lives to do things by hand and do things that speak of the individual, "Sachs said. "Our personalities and characters are being homogenized through the greatness of the computer. But there is an opportunity every once in a while to leave your fingerprint on something."