About TXTual Healing

TXTual Healing was created in the early days of 2006 by Paul Notzold and has become an ongoing exploration in how mobile technology can transform public action into theater. Using a laptop and projector, speech balloons and/or graphic context are projected 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. A way to create community through spontaneous performance.

interactive speech bubbles

The System

TXTual Healing contextualizes text messaging into user generated story telling, whether in public space or as an indoor installation. Projects include displaying text messages in speech bubbles pairing them with graphic content, writing messages out in the hand of graffiti artists, interactive movies where the audience text’s the dialog and triggers the movie to play forward, mixed media pieces using permanent graphics with projected messages, and live performance pieces such as freestyle rapping your text messages.

The Experience:
Participants send text messages from their own phones to the provided number. It takes about 10-20 seconds for a message to automatically appear once it’s been sent. The same time it takes for any phone to phone sms. All the messages that are received are put into a queue so no message is missed if a large number of people are sending.

The System:
The collection and display of messages is automatic, but can be manually filtered if necessary. The typical set up requires an apple laptop, compatible cell phone, SIM card, a projector and/or screen for display, a power source, and a platform from which to run the system.

Beyond Static:
Use incoming SMS to trigger animation, video, or live performance content.





View more work

Clients have included:
The Obama Campaign, Kool Keith, Credo Mobile, Wired NextFest, Nokia, Brooklyn Museum, The Chelsea Art Museum, Le Ferme Du Buisson, Contemporary Museum of Baltimore, Mike Judge’s Animation Festival, The Leonardo, The Square conference center, Channel 4 in London, ISIS, and Milan Design Week.

Impossible without the help from:
Federico Hatoum, Stephanie Owens, Adam Chapman, Jesus Saves, Rob Eberhart, Ben Bacon, Dave Schwitek & Josh Fisher.