Vessel for Haiti is an ongoing series of interactive performances that I conceived in collaboration with Anna Wexler as a direct response to the catastrophic earthquake that occurred on January 12, 2010. Our concurrent interest and study in the sacred forms and religious practices of Haitian Vodou, dating back to the early 1990s, had profound influence on the development of our creative work as artists. The tragic news of the quake and the magnitude of destruction compelled Anna and me to collaborate on creating participatory events, occurring at different times and in varying contexts and spaces, to address the greater realities of suffering and loss though the aesthetic lens and healing sensibilities of Haitian Vodou. Our enduring hope is for Vessel for Haiti to serve as a catalyst for action on a personal level.
In each serial performance a memorial vessel is prominently featured, ritually bound in a band of paper yarn that was created from expressive intentions for healing by audience members during Vessel for Haiti’s nascent iteration. Configured as a central object of meditation, the vessel has birthed a field of expression marked by personal encounters, shared narratives, quiet acts of making and compassionate remembrance, conversations about the human condition, and ethical reflections on how to make socially-responsible choices.