Niki Nolin, Sherry Antonini and Suzanne Cohan-Lange

A Look at Chaos Shows This to be True
Collaborative project: video, sound, sculpture installation
5’8 x 3 x 3 ft.

While best known, in Chicago, as the pillar-like women who hold up the Museum of Science and Industry, the history of caryatids is rich and fascinating. As far back as 3000 BC, these ancient priestesses of Artemis represented the pillars of wisdom or mothers of society. In our research, the original priestesses used dance in their devotion. Their dance movements were symbolic of the work women do to continually and endlessly repair and rebuild civilization.

This collaboration presents a version of the caryatids that is both historically referential and contemporary. Individually, the sculptures are constructed of wood, metal or fabric representing the primary materials used throughout various stages of more recent civilization. Video monitors incorporated into each sculpture allow for the addition of sound and moving images, providing evocative narrative elements. Women’s dance movements, combined with gestures signifying women’s tasks, create a repeating rhythm in composition with ambient sound and spoken word. Through the layering of voices, the text includes metaphorical allusions in addition to the specific naming of events and places over the course of time where the work of women– to pick up the pieces and move on– was critical to recovery, healing and growth.

© Niki Nolin, Sherry Antonini and Suzanne Cohan-Lange