Women Look at How to Break the Glass Ceiling
While Scrubbing the Glass Floor
Artist Sawyer Rose Debuts “Ties that Bind” Sculpture and Performance Art
at Fort Mason Center for ARTS & CULTURe
TIES THAT BIND
SAN FRANCISCO – Sept. 12, 2016 - Women around the world do more unpaid housework than men – A recent study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the percentage of men and women who are involved in housework has barely moved since 2003, with 84% of women reporting doing 2.6 hours of unpaid housework daily vs. 64% of men who reported doing any housework at all, and those that did spent 2 hours a day.
While women in the US workforce are still struggling to break the glass ceiling, they’re also fighting to stop “scrubbing the glass floor” at home. Cooking, cleaning, and childcare responsibilities often still default to women, keeping them from advancing at work and in society.
Inspired to explore the “double burden” carried by women who work at paid jobs and are also responsible for domestic labor at home, Bay Area artist Sawyer Rose will debut The Carrying Stones Project at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture on Friday, September 23, 2016. The Carrying Stones Project is a series of a sculpture, performance and social practice works that portrays the physical, emotional, and practical effects of gendered work inequality.
Ties That Bind is the first major work from The Carrying Stones Project. The sculpture documents the lives of 47 women who tracked the hours they spend on paid work and unpaid work in a custom web application built for this project. The Ties That Bind sculpture is a data visualization of those hours, made of 1000 handmade tiles, each representing an hour of time worked.
“No matter how far today’s women “Lean In,” it’s hard to be the CEO when they are also the head chef, janitor, and caregiver,” says Sawyer Rose. “The goal of this installation is to shine a light on an important issue in our society, and to be a catalyst for more dialogue and solutions to the problem.”
Learn more about the Carrying Stones project at: www.carrying-stones.com and fortmason.org/event/carrying-stones. The sculpture will remain on display for two months on the south side of Building D next to the FLAX art & design store.
performance & interactive event
Ties That Bind debuted at Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture in San Francisco in September 2016 along with a performance and a public assembly event.
The performance was a more theatrical interpretation of the data, featuring 10 women attempting to tie together a day’s worth of work tiles while being interrupted by actors representing different aspects of women’s daily duties, like dealing with a saucy teenager or lending an ear to her aging mother.
Sawyer also felt that her audience would understand the data better if they could interact with it. So, for “Ties That Bind”, everyone who came to the opening got to participate in the actual building of the sculpture. As people tied the tiles together, they were able to directly appreciate the sheer number of labor hours women are working.
CASTING the tiles
The tiles for the Ties That Bind sculpture were hand-cast in silicone molds using a "secret-recipe" plaster formula. The process began while on residency at Vermont Studio Center and continued for months back in the studio.
Gathering the data
47 women participated in data collection using a web application specifically designed for the project.
1000 hours of women's work
The Ties That Bind sculpture is a data visualization of how the participants spent their time. Made of 1000 handmade tiles, each tile represents an hour of time worked. The sculpture was assembled in a public performance at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, SF, on September 23, 2016.