Erasing the image, revealing the game
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In an age defined by the inundation of ever-newer forms of mediating technologies, philosophers and art historians have worried about the fate of the “real.” That is, defining the “real” has become increasingly difficult due to the fact that digital technologies threaten to blur the distinctions between lived experience and its simulation. In his best known work, contemporary artist Paul Pfeiffer appropriates photographs and television broadcasts of professional sporting events and then manipulates the material via digital editing software. Like the athletes that are the ostensible subjects of these works, Pfeiffer skillfully and playfully enters into the game of representation in order to affect its outcome. By reexamining how these works have been characterized, and how digital imagery has been received more broadly, this thesis attempts to question the very premise that the digital necessarily negates the real.