Paul Pfeiffer b. 1966
Orpheus Descending (2001)
On video monitors installed above the steady flow of pedestrian traffic, Orpheus Descending by Paul Pfeiffer (b.1966, Honolulu, Hawaii) displays the ten-week life cycle of a flock of chickens as they hatch from their eggs and develop from day-old chicks to full-grown adults. The video is displayed in real time, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, for the full duration of the birds' seventy-five day life cycle. Installed in two of New York’s most definitive urban thoroughfares, the World Trade Center and the World Financial Center, Orpheus Descending opens a window onto nature, revealing the cycles of life amid the green lushness of a farmyard setting. Commuters are afforded a daily glimpse of an unfolding pastoral drama during their brief journey to and from work. The video does not require conscious engagement from its viewers, yet it is intended to be seen day after day in passing as a subliminal image.