Paul Pfeiffer
in Conversation with Nathan Lee

Empire State of Mind

Salt Beyoğlu

November 12, 2011 18.30

Artist Paul Pfeiffer will be joined by guest researcher Nathan Lee in a discussion around the video installation Empire, on view in the Forum at SALT Beyoğlu until December 10, 2011. Specially reconfigured to compliment the architectural design of SALT Beyoğlu, Empire depicts the three-month lifecycle of a wasp nest in uninterrupted real time. The radical simplicity of the work projects a far-reaching conceptual richness. Gesturing to another famous Empire, Andy Warhol’s notorious 8-hour portrait of the Empire State Building, Pfeiffer’s project takes up questions of structure, materiality, social organization and duration in the digital age.

Pfeiffer will contextualize Empire within his larger practice, while Lee will speak to the work’s resonance within larger cultural questions of digital representation, as well as its role as the conceptual and temporal foundation of the moving image program How We Move.

Borrowing images from movies and television events, or – more recently – shooting footage himself, Pfeiffer creates videos, sculptures and installations that play with the canonization of memory and history, as in a digitally-erased Marilyn Monroe or a ghostly image of Muhammad Ali fighting in the ring. In a recent colossal production, he recorded a hired crowd of 1,000 men to re-create the sounds of 100,000 fans cheering during a World Cup match. In all of his work, from a lush sunrise and sunset shot and shown in real time, to a twenty-four hour a day, seventy-five day long piece in which New York commuters could watch a nest full of eggs hatching and the chicks growing into chickens, Pfeiffer is saying: Pay attention. In one critic’s summary of Pfeiffer’s body of work, “One can feel the deepening of love – and the holes left open by need.”

The talk will be held in English.