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TRANSFIX

SITE-SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE BY VESSEL























Since 1996, under the direction of Rachel Bowditch, Vessel has been performing their site-specific interactive “atmospheric” performance Transfix with over 60 performers in over 30 venues from Times Square, Grand Central, Central Park, Tompkins Square Park, the Scottsdale Museum of Modern Art, the Mesa Center for Contemporary Art, the Philadelphia Art Museum, the New York and Philadelphia Fringe festivals, the desert of Sedona, Arizona and Imperial Dunes, California among other sites.


Transfix is an on-going interactive, silent performance that transforms urban architecture into a poetic theatrical landscape. Performers break out of the traditional theatre arena into a public space where the audience becomes part of the performance, coming and going as they please. Weaving in and around urban architectural spaces and spectators, we transform the street into a stage, revealing the poetry and beauty of the mundane. Transfix is a collaborative, interactive urban intervention where the passerby, not expecting to see a performance stops in their tracks, transfixed.


Transfix began in 1996 as an exploration into the art of presence. What happens when the performers are in a constant state of discovery as they explore space and architecture with their bodies – creating what Artaud called ‘spatial poetry’?

Transfix took on new meaning after 9/11. There was an iconic photograph taken by a New York Times photographer of a statue covered in white dust surrounded by debris from the towers.  While this work is not rooted in Butoh, it shares a similar aesthetic and melancholy. Like the white powder worn by Butoh dancers that represents the annihilation of life after Hiroshima/Nagasaki, the white captures this loss and absence, as well as evoking a sense of discovery and rebirth. Taking these haunting figures through different environments from urban cityscapes to desert landscapes allows us to pause to notice the world around us – whether it be chaos or stillness.


Taking Transfix into the desert, we see ghostly figures carrying suitcases as they traverse the harsh conditions of the endless landscape.  As Jean Baudrillard noted in America, the desert is a metaphor for America itself,  “The American desrt is an extraordinary piece of drama [...]. It is purely, geologically dramatic, bringing together the sharpest, most ductile shapes with the gentlest, most lascivious underwater forms (1988:69). [...] The desert is a natual extension of the inner silence of the body. If humanity's language, technology, and buildings are an extension of its constructive faculties, the desert alone is an extension of its capacity for absence, the ideal schema of humanity's disappearance (68). [...] American culture is heir to the deserts [...] culture as a mirage (63). For us, the whole of America is a desert (99). Baudrillard's postmodern desert is not an endpoint but a beginning space where a new narrative can begin. —Rachel Bowditch

Selected Performances
For full performance history see bio page or visit www.vesselproject.org

2012
Mesa Festival of Creativity. Commissioned by Mesa Art Center. March 2012.



   
 
2011
Unreal City: Remixes of the Arizona Landscape
Work-in-Progress
Phoenix Art Museum, April 1. 2011.
Opening Night of PHX Fringe.
 

Unreal City: Remixes of the Arizona Landscape
Bisbee, Arizona. February 2011.
 

2010
Unreal City: Remixes of the Arizona Landscape
Gleeson Mine, Arizona. October 2010.

    
Scorpius Dance Gala
Phoenix Little Theatre
Phoenix, Arizona                             
April, 2010
   

Fashion Rules!
Neiman Marcus
Scottsdale, Arizona
March 2010
    

Transfix Retrospective: 1997-2010
 in collaboration with Verbobala, SonicAnta, Chris Loomis, Saskia Jorda, Simon De Aguero and the Phoenix Fringe Festival
Monorchid Gallery
Phoenix, Arizona
April 2010
    

Imperial Dunes Photo/Film Shoot
Imperial Dunes, California
February, 2010
  

The Art of Maintenance
, Scottsdale Canal clearing
Commisssioned by Scottsdale Public Art
Scottsdale Canal, Arizona
January 2010
      
2009
SMocA Nights
Scottsdale Museum of Modern Art (SMoCa)
Scottsdale, Arizona

March 2009

  

     

   

   



 

          

    

    
Performed by Rachel Bowditch, Portia Beacham, Nick Broderick, Erica Maytenyi, Kyle Wills, Philip Zisman, Jessica Weaver, Kristina Serna, Adam Pinti and Aaron Wester. Photographed by John Tzelepis.


2008
Night Acts, ASU Art Museum
Tempe, Arizona

February 2008


   

    

   
  
   

   

     

   
Performed by Rachel Bowditch, Nina Watt, Caitlyn Conlin, Jodie XXXX, Jessica Mumford, Stjepan Rothko, Elizabeth Widmer, Sentell Harper, Maria Enriquez, Cathan Bordyn, Kerry Wieder, and Kathleya Afandor. Photographed by John Tzelepis.

2007
Transfix performs at Bell Rock
Sedona, Arizona
March 2007

       



      

   

        
Performed by Rachel Bowditch, John Tzelepis, Caitlyn Conlin, Alex Smith, Cathan Bordyn, and David McCormick. Photographed by Bruce Bowditch. 

Transfix in Tlaquepaque
Sedona Arizona
.

March 2007

     

      

          
Performed by Rachel Bowditch, John Tzelepis, Caitlyn Conlin, Alex Smith, Cathan Bordyn, and David McCormick. Photographed by Bruce Bowditch.

Transfix at Sunset Point, Arizona.

March 2007

  

           
 Performed by Rachel Bowditch, John Tzelepis, Caitlyn Conlin, Alex Smith, Cathan Bordyn, and David McCormick. Photographed by Bruce Bowditch.


2005
Starving Artist Ball
Angel Orensanz Foundation, New York City.
Performed by Rachel Bowditch, Lea Bender, Jeff Grow, Jenny Sargent, Sarah Kozinn and Josh Mathews.


2004
Invited to perform for the
Kitchen Street Festival
The Kitchen, New York City.
2003 and 2004.     
                   
    
Performed by Rachel Bowditch Tanya Calamoneri, Gillian Chadsey, Serene Zloof, Ximena Garnica, Gregory Frumin and Juan. Photographed by the Kitchen staff.

2003


        
The Philadelphia Fringe Festival
Philadelphia Art Museum, Rittenhouse Square and Independence Mall
September 2003


   

    

    

    

    

    

      
    

    
Performed by Rachel Bowditch, Lea Bender and Jeff Grow.
2002

New York Fringe Festival Al Fresco
Central Park, Central Park and Times Square, New York City.
August 2002


    

         

            

        

Photographed by Bill Durgin.   


  

     

   
Performed by Rachel Bowditch, Lea Bender, Jeff Grow, Rick "Spark" Szpigiel, Tracey Fischette (Raven Dawn) and Timothy Speed Levitch.Photographed by Liz Pink.


2001
Transfix invited to perform for the
GenArts Summer Arts Festival
The Puck Building, New York City.
July 2001

     
           
Performed by Rachel Bowditch, Lea Bender, Bertie Ferdman, Paula Soloman, Jeff Grow, Kristin Haynes and Nikki Verhoff. Photographed by Nicholas Goldberg.

Transfix invited to perform for the opening night
of the International Independent Film Festival
Madison Square Garden, New York City.
March 2001



   

  
Performed by Rachel Bowditch, Lea Bender, Bertie Ferdman, Paula Soloman, Jeff Grow, Kristin Haynes and Nikki Verhoff. Photographed by Nicholas Goldberg.


1999
“Une Soiree de l’art et les Hazards”
Museum of Art, Arras, France
March 1999

               
Performed by Rachel Bowditch.
1997
Second performance of Transfix
Art Gallery Senior Show
October 1997


      

  

    

Performed by Rachel Bowditch, Lea Bender, Kristin Haynes, Micole Raab, and Karina Valentine.

1996
First Performance of Transfix
Theatre of Madness in Motion
Feast for the Senses
Skidmore College
Saratoga Springs, New York
April 1996


    

     
 Performed by Rachel Bowditch, Lea Bender, Kristin Haynes, and Matt Diamond.


**For complete TRANSFIX performance history, go to the ARTIST BIO page.
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