Portrait of Cynthia Pachikara

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Cynthia Pachikara

Associate Professor

Prior to joining the University of Michigan faculty, Cynthia Pachikara taught video-based sculpture and installation art at Purdue University, Reed College, the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, and Washington University in St. Louis.

Pachikara’s installation work has been influenced by two eccentric spaces and their associated phenomena. One is the flat, fleeting and visually driven domain of our media culture and its tools. The other is embodied in the spatial characteristics of shadows and their capacity to push the outline of objects into their surroundings while sustaining a unique occupation of the present. Her interest in these media is tempered by her experience with architecture and its preoccupation with definition of space.

Using theater lighting techniques, Pachikara conceives of the viewer’s “shadow body” as a void waiting to be filled with implicative video and photographic projections. By establishing the observer as a figurative aperture for reaching hidden layers of imagery, Pachikara’s work not only addresses the social contingency of her or his gazing in a space but also visualizes the notion of body-as-screen. The latest of these works occupy public spaces, where they explore pedestrian movement and the concept of viewer as performer.

Pachikara has exhibited internationally in venues that include the Mackintosh Museum of Glasgow, Scotland, the Forum for Contemporary Art in St. Louis, Consolidated Works in Seattle, the Fassbender Gallery in Chicago, SPACES in Cleveland, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax, and the Ann Arbor International Film Festival.