A Public Enactment of a Private Ritual
South Temple Square
Salt Lake City, Utah
October 6, 2019
10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
“4.5 Hours” is a public expression of my private experience of domestic labor as something undervalued and invisible. In this silent enactment of a housecleaning ritual, I sweep up a pile of dirt on a rug, gather it in a dustpan, dump it in a bucket, and then throw it back onto the rug. Then I start all over, repeating the ritual for 4.5 hours.
This will be the third time I’ve performed “4.5 Hours” but the first time in the United States. The first two took place in Berlin, Germany.
The first time (April 1, 2017; 8:15 a.m.- 12:45 p.m.), I swept my rug in silence in the field of an abandoned airport-turned-public park, Tempelhof Airport. The second time (June 1, 2018; 1:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m.) I also swept in silence, but in a more public forum, in a front of the Humboldt University library.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
“The Broom or Wages for Housework” by Michelle Standley, An Autonomous Woman [blog] (2011)
“Time Spent in Paid and Unpaid Work, By Sex”
Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (2019)
“How Society Pays When Women’s Work is Unpaid” by Claire Caine Miller, New York Times (February 22, 2016)
“Recognize, Reduce, Redistribute Unpaid Care Work: How to Close the Gender Gap” by Diane Elson, New Labor Forum: A Journal of Ideas, Analysis and Debate (March 2017)
“Women Still Do More Chores Than Men, Study Finds” by Chloe Tejada, Huffington Post (September 27, 2017)
“‘Invisible Labor’ Taking a Toll on Mother’s Well-Being: What You Need to Know” by Saumya Day, Good Morning America (January 22, 2019)
“In the Home a Woman’s Work is Never Done, Never Honored and Never Paid For” by Allison Keyes, Smithsonian Magazine (March 18, 2019)
Unpaid Work Calculator
“This Calculator Puts a Dollar Value on the Invisible, Unpaid Work Done By Women” by Annalisa Merelli and Youyou Zhou, Quartz at Work (February 28, 2018)