Paul Pfeiffer is a pioneer in video, sculpture, and photography using recent computer technologies to examine the role that mass media plays in shaping consciousness. Pfeiffer invites his audience to exercise their imaginations and project their own fears and obsessions in his works. For example, his sculptures consist of computer-generated recreations of recognizable props from Hollywood films. By incorporating these references into his videos, his work reflects a contemporary culture fixated on popular culture and celebrities.
Paul Pfeiffer was born in Hawaii, but was raised in the Philippines. He attended Hunter College and the Whitney Independent Study Program. Pfeiffer has received numerous awards and fellowships, and was the inaugural recipient of the 2002 Bucksbaum Award. In 2002, he was an artist-in-residence at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and at ArtPace in San Antonio, Texas. In 2003, a traveling retrospective of his work was organized by Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s List Visual Arts Center and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
Pfeiffer's current project during his artist residency is called, "Incarnator". Encarnador is the old Spanish term for the carver of Santos, or devotional images of the Catholic saints. Specifically, it refers to the craftsperson specializing in the final step of Santo production in which the image is finished with a skin of paint, turning carved wood into human flesh. The video hones in on the craftsmen from the wood carving workshops at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar originally from the town of Paete, the centuries-old center of Santo production in the Philippines. The repetitive gestures of the carvers at work are explored visually in relation to the surrounding landscape, where the rice-planting season is underway. Timeworn traditions of manual labor are recast as a metaphor for the production and consumption of images in today's global marketplace.