New Media and Performance Artist, New York City
Paul Notzold is a new media/performance artist and art director based in Brooklyn. He holds an MFA in New Media & Technology from Parsons School of Design. His most noted work to date, TXTual Healing, has been shown all over the world and featured in several international art fairs.
How many years have you been working?
Depends – I’ve been performing all my life. My notable work, TXTual Healing, started 5 years ago.
What’s with the gun?
It’s aggressive. And the AK is the weapon for an intervention.
How is it used in your pieces?
So much of my work has dealt with words, and what people say and how people react to each other’s content. I see how words have been elevated to such a level of aggression in our news media; it has diluted the acts of gun violence. Sticks and stones do break bones, but words also hurt.
How does making a typically private action (texting) into a public exchange transform its context?
When I first started this project using the cell phone as a device to connect or create community with your immediate space and surroundings was still very rare. I wanted to enable an unfiltered anonymous discussion to connect people through performance. However, not all connections are necessarily productive and can be challenging, but they are enlightening.
What is your favorite site or application of Txtual Healing to date?
I really love the MC TXT piece, working with the MC’s to freestyle off of an audiences txt messages has me in awe every time. It’s one of those things that could have easily been a train wreck, but the MC’s I was lucky enough to have carry this piece blew life into it.
What recurring themes or issues do you hope to address in your work?
Asking people to be spontaneous, in their content creation, as well as develop a shared experience, no matter how brief.
How has audience participation shaped Txtual Healing in unexpected ways?
I think it’s simply the unexpected behavior of being asked to participate in spaces and places that most of us typically ignore or passively move through. I’m not sure if the kinds of participation I’ve seen have been unexpected, but they are certainly interesting every time. It really becomes up to the participants to determine if it’s going to be interesting.
What are you working on next?
Interactive portraits. And a twitter version of TXTual Healing where people can use their own twitter account, custom graphics and launch their own display for free.
Name some of your art heroes?
My friends, my family, and the artists I have been honored to meet and work with have been my biggest inspiration. As far as artist heroes, without sounding cliche, I’d simply say all the usual suspects… I dig Michelangelo. But art and expression has never been more accessible. Would it be wrong to say those artists who haven’t been exposed yet or have learned the art of marketing? Oh yeah, Led Zeppelin. My heroes in life would be Martin Luther King, Lewis and Clark, Garp… and probably some others.
“If you don’t screw up the first time, you’ll never get it right.”