Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Paul Pfeiffer

Pfeiffer is a video/installation artist who focuses on the media and its relationship to its technology. He uses video and digital technology to manipulate mass media and reshapes it into something familiar yet alien. Many of his works focus on the world of professional sports. In short, looped videos Pfeiffer "digitally removes the bodies of the players from the games, shifting the viewer’s focus to the spectators, sports equipment, or trophies won." Pfeiffer also takes scenes or artifacts from movies or photos and recreates them in a different context and scale.

Personally, I don't quite get all of this out of Pfeiffer's work. I looked at some of the videos, and photos of his sculptures and installations. I read his statements. And I still couldn't appreciate the work in any meaningful way. Perhaps I'm jaded to the kind of digital installations he specializes in, or maybe he just isn't appealing to me. Whatever the reason, I simply didn't like Pfeiffer's work. It aroused no strong emotions or thoughts or anything.

Vito Acconci

It seems like Vtio Acconci has tried his hand at nearly every kind of artmaking, from performance to architecture. A web search revealed a large and disparate body of work, so it was difficult to read any themes or larger focus. A lot of Acconci's work seems to deal with the body, specifiaclly his. He also seems to be concerned with public spaces and how people interact with each other and with these spaces. Lately, he has been active in the fields of architecture, landscape and installation art, and furniture design.

Acconci's work seems to have a personality to it. A lot of it looks or sounds kind of irreverent and humorous, like his famous performanc piece "Seedbed;" where he hid under a wooden ramp and masturbated while telling viewers his fantasies via loudspeaker. I don't like his architectural and landscape pieces; he seems too concerned with manipulating and altering the space without really making any point. Still, after viewing Pfeiffer's work, this was much more palatable. Acconci seems to at least be competant at whatever he's doing, and for that I give him credit.

Alex Bag
Another video/installation artist, Bag uses her media to mock and deconstruct selective aspects of modern society, such as the military-industrial complex. A good portion of her work is concerned with the art world itself. As one review says of her piece "One Bit Alone," "it's just two hand-puppets humping each other, but it sends up Pipilotti Rist and Matthew Barney."

I couldn't find any of Bag's video's online, nor could I find details of her installations, so I didn't have much work to base my opinion on. What I was able to see was interesting enough; the comparisons of Halliburton to witches got my attention. However, Bag's work isn't terribly unique or insightful or well-crafted to make an impression on me. I've seen enough other 30-something video artists with satirical takes on the authority figures in society and the art world. But, once again, I'd have to experience her work in person before I say for sure.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

More artists...

Matthew Barney

Barney is one of the most famous and critically acclaimed contemporary video/performance artists. He is known for his elaborate, lavish sets and costumes that he designs for his video performances, which resemble Hollywood productions more than independant art films (in terms of quality, not the sets themselves). Barney's work is full of high concept imagery and surreal scenarios that barely reveal any narrative. His work is controvercial within the art world, with some critics accusing him of being all flash and no substance while others have hailed him as one of the greatest living artists.

Personally, I'm still on the fence about whether or not Barney's work is full of the complex symbolism that he claims is there. I watched two parts of the Cremaster Cycle, parts 3 and 5, and they were visually quite stunning. Whether or not they have any depth, I still enjoyed watching. I'd call Barney's work surrealist post-modern video art.

Where are those video, eh?

I tried posting my flipbook and Flash videos, as quicktime files, on three separate occassions. Every time, the video would be "processing" for about half an hour before I gave up. I'd love for them to be up right now, but the Internets are a cruel misstress.