Paul Pfeiffer

Paul Pfeiffer was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1966, but grew up in the Philippines. He moved to New York in 1990, where he studied at Hunter College and was involved in the Whitney Independent Study Program. Pfeiffer’s work has often been described as “groundbreaking” – he combines sculpture, video, photography, and computer technology to “dissect the role that mass media plays on our consciousness”. As such, Pfeiffer’s work generally focuses on sports events. What makes his work “novel” is the method in which he uses computer technology to remove visual information, such as the numbers and names on player’s jerseys, or the actual players themselves, which ultimately focuses our attention on the spectators. As a result, we are able to objectively view our reactions as a culture to things like sports matches and celebrities.

In my opinion, the fact that Pfeiffer often displays his work on tiny LCD screens is the most interesting aspect of his art. The edited films are sometimes displayed on what appear to be camcorder screens, which not only creates a very intimate relationship with the documented event, but also references our culture. As a culture, we have become obsessed with sports to such an extent that we feel the need to document individual games so that they live on for eternity. In a way, we glorify the game and the players in such a manner that they are elevated to the status of eternal beings – essentially, we put them on a pedestal, to be admired and emulated. I think Pfeiffer also does an excellent job in portraying this mindset by focusing our attention on one solitary figure, as in The Saints, or by totally removing the players. The roar of the crowd and the faces and gestures of the spectators become our main focus. Personally, I think this technique suggests that the fans are the driving force behind sports culture, and are directly involved in the glorification of the game and the players.

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