The endless dusting of lights and hotel room silhouettes enrich the mythology of the city that never sleeps, Las Vegas. On this last trip to Resorts World Las Vegas, the luxuriant accommodations acted as a balance to the fiery sights outside the building’s doors. The latest attraction to come on to the strip offers up a taste of contemporary art with a microdose of Burning Man. TRANSFIX co-founded by experiential entrepreneurs Michael Blatter and Tom Stinchfield, offers up a subversive take of the type of art that would typically represented Vegas whilst also platforming creators in supporting their works and letting the rest of the world see the starry sights and accompanying sounds.
TRANSFIX is a unique exhibit located just outside the resort’s doors. The Wonka worthy playground boast it’s reigning title as world’s largest immersive art experience with over 50 works ranging from, kinetic, illuminated, and fire-breathing works by international artists. The Alice in Wonderland like adventure takes up 200,000 square-foot on four acres of land. Each piece is carefully selected to create an immersive and thought-provoking experience for visitors. The sounds of dance and techno shift as every installation comes with its own journey of song and sound. Every journey on this playground is a personal experience which offers endless choices.
El Pulpo Magnifico by Duane Flatmo one of the most iconic Burner staples features a fire breathing metal octopus which moves and glows in the night. Christopher Bauder and Kinks’ Axion also serves as another of the venues must see. An inverted pyramid built out of lights and suspended by a large metal apparatus. The lights dance and sync with the music pulsed by a live DJ. The minimalist light work by Nonotak (Noemi Schipfer and Takami Nakamoto) titled Cadence combines the unison of light interactivity with sound, building dimensionality to the room of flat lined LEDs.
Another way which this exhibit will be set apart to the typical Vegas offerings will be in the programming, which will be serve to present new creators every 6 months. one thing for sure will be that there will be no shortage of awe-inspiring visuals as we spoke with Marc Dizon the Chief Creative Officer whose architectural background and Burning Man passion helped to bring this illuminated venture to life.
I would like to start by focusing how your team has allowed the works of other artists to be presented in such a democratic way, how did you got involved?
Michael Blatter, who is the CEO masterminded this whole thing at the 2017 Burning Man maybe 2018. We were all sitting there staying at the same camp and I had this idea I said, “yeah that could be really cool but the logistic would just be a nightmare.” Fast forward to a few years later we reconnected this time a year and a half ago and he had asked me if I would be interested in coming on board as a creative director. I was like, “yeah, let’s do it let’s figure out how this experience will manifest itself.” We immediately started designing the framework around how the pieces were going to be exhibited. Also, to be part of a larger story looking at how to curate the show and what type of pieces would work well with before we even thought of Vegas was an actual option to launch this platform. We had been looking at Los Angeles as the first city to launch so the experience was going to be a lot different than what came to final realization.
Your previous work and experience in architecture has been quite impactful and vast with mega spaces. How did you adapt your previous knowledge and background in order to work with these large scale pieces, which are more open to the elements.
It was a big tool for me to have all the past experiences that I have had with some of the larger projects I’ve had from museums to large nightlife venues, and even down to smaller scale, intimate spaces, all of that really allowed itself to create the extra-large, large, medium, and small experiences for Transfix. It translated very well and in terms of creating that time, framework and that environment for each piece to really drive and to also enhance the experience of that piece. Normally we would see these large scale pieces just out in the desert where there is really no context. it was about giving it context of its origin from Burning Man and also giving it the framework that made sense. That’s what I have been really working painstakingly hard to create, that narrative between space the envelope that is space, the actual exhibition. Internal exhibition space for the piece and how that piece interacts with in that space. It was really about trying to stay true to how the pay should be represented and how could we really enhance on top of that.
We went to the Allē Lounge on 66 floor and we saw the fire from below as they were testing the octopus piece and it was absolutely a great taste to what we were about to see. Essentially it came to mind that that was great advertising. I wanted to know more about your creation of the project. The artist you have chosen, I’m very much lured towards all the light installations and grand optical pieces versus the sculptural, what was your personal take and decision on creating the balance between such mass light installations and the sculptural.
We worked really closely with the art team, and really looking at the inventory. We have such a large inventory of art and artists for our disposal to create these experiences, especially for a residency in Vegas and the touring model. We have something like 400 catalog pieces, so it was really about looking at which ones is going to be the most impactful in that sort of Godsmack experience number one and then really balancing the narrative between us cultural elements and interactive light pieces. Because we don’t want this thing to feel like it’s an off shoot of burning man. And we don’t want it to feel like it’s enough shoot of something like a New Tech where it’s all digital light installations. I really wanted to create a story between, “how does a piece like Marco Cochrane’s R-Evolution play with Pablo González Vargas’ ILUMINA and then how does ILUMINA then breaks down and becomes the chip part of the geometry of Christopher Bauder & KiNK’s AXION. If you really look through the spaces, and as you walk through the journey of the labyrinth, he start to see this kind of subtle matter, narrative and thread that goes from one piece to the next piece, and it really kind of brings you into a whole holistic story of a cheerful transfix experience.
I was speaking to the team, and then was quite touched to know that there is this element where you are doing this in order to really create a space for the artist to live off of and also present their works, which are usually in storage.
That was one of the initial driving forces was how do I get these artists to a platform where they are recognized for all of their work it does not really exist. There isn’t a gallery there’s really not a museum. There are some collectors that are starting to take notice and buy some of the pieces, but those are collectors. They buy a piece and put it on their property or in their private collection, and nobody else will sit outside of their immediate circle of friends, so we really wanted to create kind of like the Storm King or the DIA center a version of that platform for this type of new media renegade artists, and allow them to have a voice in the art world.
It’s interesting it’s almost like why hasn’t this been done sooner. Why is now the best time to do this project in a platform like Vegas.
I think it’s because of the recent search in social media around Burning man and creating that interest. The cat is out of the bag, “you know there is this thing called Burning Man this is what it looks like.” I think maybe 2016 was when we actually started to really see Burning Man on such a big social platform. We thought if no one is going to do it we should and we should do it right away.
They really wanted to be the Pioneers to bring this out to the public. We can just be looking at the after effects of the pandemic and how it really affected the community of people, these artists. The real impact of not being able to provide that simple daily functions of living. So in that sense that was the urgency, we had to move quickly we need to give these people some revenue so they can live.
The real ultimate goal out of this whole project was that Michael Blatter relay, sent it home when he told me if we could provide one of these artists with a private commission then we have done our job.
That really is beautiful to hear, especially since it is dealing with the Vegas machine to understand that it is not shared at all but the aspect of really focusing on building community and platforming. It’s really inspiring. Do you see this project potentially touring around?
Yes, so we do have plans in 2024 to start the North American tour and then shortly after going abroad either to Europe and Asia and ultimately the Middle East and Saudi.
In your travels around the world have you seen any new works that you feel can potentially be involved in the upcoming projects I was told this was going to be swapped out every six months is that correct?
Yes, that is correct so that we can give every artist a chance to really show the work and blossom. Definitely I would like to get some Russian artists out and give them a platform. There’s a lot of interesting people and pieces coming out of Russia right now with some of the more underground studios. I am also more drawn to lights and interactive dynamic pieces as well. There is a lot of that going on. There’s quite a lot of interesting artist, who are starting to merge their own circumstance of living in some of these ghettos, and utilizing just the local elements and vernacular, and trying to engage it with a digital world. There are some interesting stuff coming out of India as well.
Is there anything else you would like to let us now?
Get prepared to have your mind unraveled. Just let the space lead you, don’t look at any maps, just allow yourself to get pull through the maze.
Transfix at Resorts World will run through September 2023, opening hours Tuesday through Thursday from 7 p.m. to midnight and Friday through Sunday from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tickets are available for purchase here.
TRANSFIX is open to all ages from opening to 10 p.m., ages 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult. From 10 p.m. until close all guests must be at least 21 years of age.