ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK
When I started this interview, Neuwirth and I hadn’t met, altough we had been following each other on Twitter for a few months. As I saw him pop up in various time zones, tweeting at all hours of the day, I knew I had to speak to him regarding the “Escape from New York” series of interviews where I ask people about their studios outside the cultural hub of the Big Apple. Specifically, it was his comment to a status on Facebook that I wrote that intrigued me to learn more about his studio practice: “Shout out to people who use the little desk area in hotel rooms to actually do work,” I wrote. Neuwirth commented, “You mean my studio."
During the last two months of 2013 I made my most current solo exhibition MMXIV working in hotel rooms in Phoenix, Las Vegas, Montreal, Beijing, and London. I did manage to squeeze in one 15 hour day in my Seattle studio wiring transformers (20) with my girlfriend in between catching planes. And it’s pretty much like this constantly. I mean, this is where I live: in transit. Constantly having to compartmentalize every part of my life is a way of life. A traditional or single location where the work is made is just not possible for me but it’s also a personality thing. My geographic dislocation is as diverse as my personality is and they work together to fuel the work. For me, the studio is relative. It’s wherever I am. It’s my iPhone 5s a Samsung NX1100 digital camera, emails, texts, phone calls and countless hours on social media. It’s like artistic project management.
I finally met Neuwirth when he visited New York partly in order to deliver and install one of his neon pieces. He told me that he had made a sale over Twitter, and it wasn’t his first. Not only does he scrape content from the internet, but he makes transactions over the platforms we use just to express ourselves. I asked him to go into depth about how he uses social networks to be his own dealer.
Sometimes the ripples hit other shores. For instance, I sold the work IRL to a net/new media artist recently over Twitter. I had been posting carefully captured Polaroids of works from MMXIV knowing the bulk of them would make an impact. Like I knew, over time, the collection of them would sink in and boom… this artist dropped the tweet that began the relationship. I was already going to be in NYC for 36 hours to attend the ARTFCITY party and set it up so that I could install the work in his West Village apartment and project space as well. So, a work generated in Beijing, fabricated and displayed in Seattle, shared over Twitter, and brought in my backpack on a redeye flight in the dead of winter was installed in NYC. All from casting a single stone.
For Neuwirth, his geographic restlessness demands a certain a way of multitasking; it’s the lifestyle of an artist who has to juggle other projects and a job in an age of anxiousness that is mirrored in his art.
Then it’s like I see I myself not as a regional artist or attached to any one place either. I want to be everywhere. Make work that looks like it could be anywhere. To be singular and be synonymous at the same time. Like a totally underground electronic artist who infiltrates the top charts only to return to the murky depths again.
The day after I met Neuwirth, I woke up and reached over for my phone. He had Tweeted me a message. He was already flying somewhere over the continental United States on his way to the Philippines.