“Live from Neverland” by Paul Pfeiffer

Posted: May 26, 2007 in All and Sundry, Art Attacks

288759.jpgfinally, paul pfeiffer (my first ever art mentor) is exhibiting his latest work “Live from Neverland” this may 3-june 22, 2007 in the project, new york. this comes as another exciting news to me because i have witnessed the first stages of creating “Live from Neverland” when paul staged the filming the video of 80 filipino voices that composed the chorus, in the luce auditorium last year. (read the past entry here.)

the first thing that came to my mind when nth told me that “Live from Neverland” is already advertised in his latest copy of ArtForum was “i wonder how the whole thing turned out?” interestingly, most of the write-ups i chanced upon on the net, forgot to mention that the greek chorus were of filipino voices. in my opinion, it would have made a difference considering that michael jackson is primarily an american popculture icon.

to answer my questions, here’s a press release from artnet:

In 2003, twenty-seven million American viewers tuned in to watch “Living with Michael Jackson,” a television documentary in which the singer admitted to having shared his bed with many children. The broadcast elicited an investigation and Jackson’s arrest for charges of sexual abuse, which led to one of the most-documented trials in American history, covered by over 2,000 different media outlets from hundreds of different countries.

Paul Pfeiffer’s Live from Neverland video installation is divided into two separate videos: one soundlessly replaying footage of a televised statement in which Michael Jackson addressed the child-molestation allegations, and a second one featuring a chorus of 80 voices reciting Jackson’s monologue in the manner of a Greek chorus. The two videos are brought into further correspondence by means of a subtle re-syncing of Jackson’s facial gest3paulpfeiffer.jpgures to match the spoken delivery of the chorus, down to every pause, inflection and nuance.

In his speech, Jackson positions himself as a victim, reciting a litany of indignities inflicted on him by the police. Seeing a group of people delivering Jackson’s words creates a disturbing dissonance, implying that the star’s suffering is somehow taken up by the group. Pfeiffer takes a familiar mass-media image and reworks it to emphasize underlying tensions between the group and the mute figure, the interdependent relationship between leader and crowd.

This year, Paul Pfeiffer’s work was seen in the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit’s “Meditations in an Emergency.” It will also be featured in “Art in America: 300 Years of Innovation” at the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art and the Shanghai Museum, and “For the Love of the Game” at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Washington, DC. He is completing a project for Artangel in London, and taking part in a residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida. This is his fourth solo exhibition at The Project.

*images grabbed from nymag

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