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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dancing Through the H2O: Qinmin Arts in WATER at the YBCA

Posted By on Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 8:00 AM


Chinese artist Qinmin Liu -- who recently explored human fragility through the metaphor of paper in a performance at KUNST-STOFF arts, as well as the human ability to endure and connect through an eight-hour walk through the streets of San Francisco costumed only in a layer of rice -- makes her debut at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts with WATER. The latest piece examines the human condition through the lens of a basic element, and premieres as part of the YBCA's ConVerge series, which brings art to the community with live music and libations every third Thursday. As with all the ConVerge events, the performance is free of charge.

Using movement as a basis, but not an end for her productions, Liu strives to create experiences, and they primarily occur like dreams -- with images and associations dominating over narrative. In WATER, six dancers in hand-painted costumes move from the gardens to the lobby of the YBCA, seeping across the boundaries of interior and exterior and challenging the audience to not only view but also contribute to the encounter. Liu calls the performance an "experiment," meant to activate individuality through how water is separable into discrete drops, and create community the way the primary property of water acts in fluidity.

Water may be more on the minds of many these days than before: oceans acidifying as they absorb rising levels of carbon dioxide and endure the slow poisoning of radioactive leaks from Fukushima and factory emissions from our insatiable hunger for manufactured goods, and host the horror of plastic islands bobbing above its depths. While with the drought, fresh water has become rare in California -- and no reliving rains on the horizon.

Our need for water is far more than daily, being continuous and contiguous with bodies composed in majority of this ever more scarce element. Come for communal catharsis and the reminder that at times, all we can do is be present to experience.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts presents Qinmin Arts in WATERon Thursday, July 17 at 6 p.m. at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (701 Mission). Admission is free.

For events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF.

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Irene Hsiao


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