Q & A             
2016


Q:       Who is INSIDE THE BOX?
           Who is OUTSIDE THE BOX?
           What is the power of play?





D: Play
a. a range of voluntary, intrinsically motivated activities done for pleasure and enjoyment.





W: Alex Nichols and  Qinmin Liu, both female artists, acted on their fantasies. They, together with eight kayakers, arrived at Pier 40 with their plexiglass boxes and eight foot rafts to give a fantasy tour of the San Francisco Bay.

Hard questions of assimilation and identity are sometimes best attacked at a slant. With that idea, Alex and Qinmin built their rafts and clear five foot boxes and launched themselves into the deep waters. Where they unexpectedly got caught in the power of that water.




Background: Alex Nichols and Qinmin Liu, both female artists, one from USA and the other from China look at the way identity is formed and how that sense of identity in another culture shifts. Water and tides used as metaphor to this movement. On June 2, 2016 Alex and Qinmin set their rafts in the powerful channels of the bay. They, together with eight kayakers, arrived at Pier 40 with their plexiglass boxes and eight foot rafts to give a fantasy tour of the San Francisco Bay.




What is Alex’s goal for this piece? (What does Alex hope to learn or reveal about herself, female artists, relationship, art, life...)

Learning History—I learn about my decisions by watching Qinmin make her decisions. It is a unique mirror into myself as a female artist, as an artist, as the subject of my work. I am able to reflect on myself in time and it is like proposing a hypothesis and knowing one outcome but not another. Thinking about who I thought I was then and now. How those daily decisions and narratives formed me over time. How I shifted at each juncture. I watch Qinmin create her narrative and I watch it unfold. She comes from a different place of thinking and sense of self. Is this because of culture, generation or language or personal characteristics. What is timeless and what is time sensitive? What do I learn about America through Qinmin's perception of America. How do I perceive my surroundings and how does she perceive her surroundings? We open exciting shifts in perception through working together—sometimes it is like hanging upside down on the monkey bars.




This challenges me to question again my narrative, my values, my goals. Qinmin advocates strongly for herself and her dreams. I am interested in how her daily decisions unfold over two decades and what that will look like. How our decisions impact our work, our marriages, our careers, our personal relationships and our relationship to the public and our relationship to ourselves. This is a process of observation and reflection. The large context is about what each generation, culture language understands about themselves. It is also a deeply personal context of learning about my decisions around my art in terms of marriage, and family.