Force of Nature: Women's Work Visualized
Every year, women are doing hundreds of hours of work-- behind the scenes and for no pay.
Men work hard too (of course they do!), but no one ever forgets to give a gold star to a man who works very hard. It’s visible, it brings home a paycheck, it’s the social norm.
So many women, though, are working just as hard for a paycheck AND at the same time doing the domestic labor in their homes and volunteering in their communities-- work which tends to be invisible. It's what what sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild has called the “second shift.”
The Force of Nature sculptures are data visualizations that transform the work hours of women of various ages, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds into weight-bearing sculptures, photographic portraiture, and social practice interactive events.
Real-life data is collected using a custom-built app that enables participants to record their unpaid and paid labor, hour by hour. These labor hours are translated into large-scale sculptures that give voice and space to the women’s histories. A photographic portrait of each of these powerhouse women wearing or carrying her sculpture hangs next to each sculpture—in a real, physical way “shouldering her load.”
Every woman and every different demographic group experiences work inequity differently, so each sculpture, in material and composition, reflects the personality of the person it was built for.
The solid forms are typically representative of the women’s paid labor, because that’s more seen in society, and the ones that are more transparent represent the unseen labor-- invisible, but it’s still there. And the spaces in between represent when the women were not working, so if you look at them you see very few spaces for any of these women.
Funded by San Francisco, CA (October 2017)