David Schafer is an artist who started exhibiting in the mid eighties in New York and was primarily involved in public art at the time. These projects incorporated language, signage, and architectural structures. The projects were driven by site-specific strategies for excavating and revealing buried information. They interrogated existing structures of viewing, public space, and history. His interest in structures of language and public space evolved and eventually started incorporating sound and audio components. Having, over years, amassed an extensive collection of records with an emphasis on noise and sounds experimentation, as well as a focus on easy listening, moog records, and electronic records, Schafer often mines this archive as the subject of his work. Sculptural, digital graphics, sound, and drawing based projects structurally and conceptually explore ideas about how the structures of space and sound data, controls, oppresses, stimulates, or enlivens the listening and viewing subject. Schafer has worked with voice actors and also with various degrees of superimposition that border on, or fully engage, the noise side of things. Linear narrative structure and its fragile relationship to intelligibility is an ongoing subject of interest.
Schafer resided in New York from 1983 to 1996, then in Los Angeles where he taught at Art Center College of Design until 2006. He currently lives and works in New York.
Schafer's sound works have been exhibited at Special K, Beyond Baroque, Shoshana Wayne Gallery; in Los Angeles, The Sculpture Center in New York, Gallery 400; Chicago, DeVleeshal; Middelburg Holland. His work has also been played extensively on WFMU. He has written reviews and features for Cool and Strange Music Magazine, Exotica Etc., Paper, and Documents Journal. His sound works have been written about in: Chartsweep, The Anti-Fun Magazine of Belgium, Cabinet Magazine, Chicago Tribune.