Paul Pfeiffer b. 1966
The Long Count (I Shook Up The World) (2000)
In 'The Long Count (I Shook Up the World),'' a tiny video monitor, which plays and replays in a continuous loop the third round of the 1964 match between Sonny Liston and Cassius Clay. Characteristically, the three-minute sequence has been Pfeifferized: the figures of Liston and Clay have been removed from the sequence as completely as current technology allows, serendipitously leaving a pair of ghostlike, barely discernible presences that flicker across the surface of the crowd like wind moving over water.
The deletion of the two black athletes suggests that they are anonymous and expendable players in a centuries-old ritual; the faces that remain are predominantly white, and their avidity, spectatorship and even blood lust seems to be the focus of the work. But the faces might also be the cast-out, watching the forces of good and evil battle for their souls.
Mr. Pfeiffer has an unusual feeling for the inchoate meanings to be found at the nexus of the body, the camera and American culture; he also has the technical skill and the poetic restraint to extract them. But ''The Long Count'' and its predecessors suggest that his subjects must be kept small and in motion to be most affecting. ROBERTA SMITH, NY Times