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15 Oct 2010

Two new urban interventions presented by the Cambridge Arts Council, Massachusetts

Jeremy Gaucher

Of, By, and For: New Work by Daniel Peltz and Paul Notzold
Cambridge Arts Council


On view now through November 19, 2010 Gallery hours M W 8:30 a - 8:00 p, T Th 8:30 a - 5 p, F 8:30 a - noon Closing event by Paul Notzold Nov. 19

Mara Littman

Cambridge Arts Council
344 Broadway, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02139

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The Cambridge Arts Council presents in the CAC Gallery Of, By, and For: New Work by Daniel Peltz and Paul Notzold, ongoing through November 19, 2010, organized in collaboration with independent curator Liz K. Sheehan.

Of, By, and For presents two models of artistic intervention into urban life that examine city structure, site, and community. Though they represent distinct working methods, both projects concern ideas of mobility, communication, control, and the visibility of authority in city spaces.

As artists, Peltz and Notzold are as much producers of context as content, creating situations that encourage action and dialogue. Through their work, the City becomes a performative space in which individuals can react and interact in new ways, gaining a new perspective on each other and their surroundings. Together, these projects serve as starting points for an ongoing investigation of, by, and for the City of Cambridge.

Daniel Peltz' background in anthropology guides his in-depth study of text, language and dialogue. His project for the CAC, Crossing Non Signalized Locations, began with a residency with the Cambridge Department of Traffic, Parking, and Transportation last winter, during which he shadowed workers and interviewed employees in a variety of roles. He drew the title of his project from section 11.5 of the City's parking regulations, which are set forth in 24 articles with hundreds of sections.

As Peltz has noted, a close reading of these regulations reveals a certain poetry and perspective on urban space. The outcome of his residency is a 'suite of four gestures' that respond to experiences from his residency with the department and are enacted by Traffic, Parking and Transportation staff. The suite, put into effect on the streets of Cambridge during the first week of September, includes new parking signage; the launch of a fictional parking regulation authorizing 'soft-booting,' in which stuffed fabric parking boots will be fabricated at a sewing station in the atrium of the Traffic, Parking and Transportation offices [produced in collaboration with the Swedish conceptual craft artist Sissi Westerberg]; and a redesigned parking ticket envelope, introducing a series of yogic postures for giving and receiving parking citations. Documentation and designs for these objects will be on view in the CAC Gallery along with '10,000 Excuses,' a large-scale drawing, composed from the archive of electronic parking disputes received by the City, transcribed, by hand, by departmental staff and visitors onto the back wall of the gallery.

Paul Notzold aligns himself with street art practices, staging ephemeral, often unsanctioned performances that fall under the category of 'urban hacking.' His ongoing project TXTual Healing is an experiment in how mobile technology can transform public action into theater. Using a laptop and projector strapped to a bicycle cart, Notzold projects speech balloons and/or graphics onto buildings, with a phone number to which anyone with a mobile phone can text a response. Typically a private form of communication, in this project text messaging becomes an open, anonymous, and uncensored dialogue; a means to engage, rather than to escape. Notzold views his work as an alternative to advertising: 'Projecting in a shared public space gives participants a voice as loud as the corporate and government entities who financially predetermine the information in these spaces.' TXTual Healing generates spontaneous and unpredictable stories, in which the city serves as both frame and surface. Of, By, and For includes a series of documentary photographs from a recent event in Cambridge as well as a new interactive piece.