Containment is a short story by Alex Nichols. In 2011 she was invited to perform the piece at HEADLANDS CENTER FOR THE ARTS/BREAKING RANKS.
Alex’s art practice, whether it is word work, performance, photography, video, is always about the the boxes we contain ourselves in, and the power of our narratives.
Containment is narrated by a man who works in Building 10 cleaning an invisible contaminant. Dressed in a white contamination suit, surrounded by white walls and white shelves, everything is invisible that he cleans, and he is slowly dying. He takes this job to give his family a better life, aware that the exchange will be a short life, we witness him as he relishes the table set with jam and expensive food in his new apartment, watching his daughters eat. We make choices and create narratives around those choices that affirm our decisions, no matter how absurd and painful the logic becomes full proof.
Performed at Headlands, Alex dressed in a white Tyvek suit, inside a white vinyl chamber, reads, eerily portraying invisible contamination.