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.

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