search
Sections List
American Journal News

Artist Nancy Baker Cahill installs image of exploding uterus over Supreme Court building

The augmented reality installation ‘State Property’ can also be seen over the capitol buildings of states with the most extremist abortion laws.

By Rebekah Sager - May 01, 2023
Share
Exploding uterus art installation at Atlanta statehouse
In this image captured on a smartphone, an augmented reality image of a uterus created by artist Nancy Baker Cahill 'explodes' over the Georgia State Capitol. (Photo by Rebekah Sager; artwork by Nancy Baker Cahill.)

In her latest work, interdisciplinary artist Nancy Baker Cahill challenges extremist anti-abortion laws and those states with the most restrictive abortion bans. 

The image of a uterus exploding atop of the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as over four state capitol buildings and a federal courthouse in Texas, Baker Cahill explained, symbolizes thecruel externalities of these new laws and the degradation of democracy across multiple states.”

Her piece, titled “State Property,” is a sculpture of a fracturing uterus in crimson neon, created in an augmented reality. 

It is geolocated and site-activated, meaning that in order for a person to see it, they must download a free app founded by Baker Cahill and developed by Drive Studios and Shaking Earth Digital called the 4th Wall. Users must be a half-mile or closer to one of the sites and let the app use geolocation, or GPS, to display the image on their phones. They can then take videos or photos of the image of the uterus as it explodes and it will appear as if it is happening in real life. 

Baker Cahill told the American Independent Foundation:

If this particular piece articulates for someone, regardless of what their position is … a visceral understanding of what it is to have one of your organs … disembodied and essentially isolated as a site of public intervention and public criminalization … that, I hope, is what is expressed in this piece: that wombs have been identified and disembodied as sites of public, state, and in some cases federal intervention, that it doesn’t somehow belong to you. It belongs to the state. That’s why it’s called “State Property.”

Baker Cahill’s latest work stems from a geolocated drawing in augmented reality titled “Unprotected” that she had installed over the Supreme Court building in 2018 during the confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh to the court and the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford before the Senate Judiciary Committee, in which she accused Kavanaugh of having sexually assaulted her.

“I thought, here I have this drawing that’s very visceral, and it’s very much sort of an abstraction of a body that’s been split, somewhat bound. And I added the word ‘unprotected’ to it because all of those narratives were emerging around sexual assault and sexual violence and the ways in which people were unprotected by not just culture, but by the law,” Baker Cahill said.

Baker Cahill initially posted “State Property” on her Instagram account in mid-April with text that read, “Today we installed ‘State Property’ over the US Supreme Court Building in Washington D.C. to protest the emergent brutality leveled at over half of the population after this disgraced court overturned Roe v Wade.” 

Baker Cahill said that creating the image as an animation was intentional: “After Dobbs, and after particularly the Kacsmaryk ruling, I thought, you know, it’s one thing for it to be a static object and symbol, it’s entirely another to have it animated, and to be able to use it as an intervention in these different sites where it would have added resonance. And that’s been a part of my practice from the beginning.”

Since the work can only be seen by downloading Baker Cahill’s app and physically being in front of the Supreme Court or one of the statehouses where she’s placed it, it’s questionable how many people will actually view the work. She explained that that too is intentional. 

“I do think that’s somewhat the beauty of this particular experience. It’s an opt-in experience. But I also feel that that’s the subversive potential of AR, the fact that it’s both invisible and visible, that it occupies this kind of uncontained and uncontainable space here, cultural thoughtspace, feels very important to me. … The medium itself allows artists to be nimble and kind of guerrilla in their tactics,” Baker Cahill said.

“State Property” can currently be seen over statehouses in Boise, Idaho; Lincoln, Nebraska; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Atlanta, Georgia; and the federal courthouse in Austin, Texas. Baker Cahill plans to install more pieces over the next few weeks in Florida, Tennessee, and Missouri. She says the work will remain available on the app indefinitely.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


AJ News
Get the latest news here first.

Tai News

Newsletter
Read More
Cannabis workers across Missouri begin push to unionize dispensaries 

Cannabis workers across Missouri begin push to unionize dispensaries 

By Rebecca Rivas - December 04, 2023
Curtis Hertel Jr. places public service over politics in Michigan congressional run

Curtis Hertel Jr. places public service over politics in Michigan congressional run

By Alyssa Burr - October 20, 2023
Republican Virginia Senate candidate Danny Diggs has ties to hate groups and extremists

Republican Virginia Senate candidate Danny Diggs has ties to hate groups and extremists

By Josh Israel - October 20, 2023
Demands grow for Wisconsin Supreme Court to redraw the state’s legislative maps

Demands grow for Wisconsin Supreme Court to redraw the state’s legislative maps

By Rebekah Sager - October 19, 2023
Pennsylvania elections 2023: A voter’s guide to the state Supreme Court race

Pennsylvania elections 2023: A voter’s guide to the state Supreme Court race

By Anna Gustafson - October 19, 2023
Pennsylvania elections 2023: What to know before you vote

Pennsylvania elections 2023: What to know before you vote

By Anna Gustafson - October 18, 2023
AJ News
Latest
Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

By Jesse Valentine - February 26, 2024
Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

By Jesse Valentine - February 09, 2024
Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

By Annmarie Timmins, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 31, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

By Jesse Valentine - January 17, 2024
A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

By Bonnie Fuller - January 10, 2024
Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - January 08, 2024
How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

By Jesse Valentine - January 05, 2024
NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

By Ethan DeWitt, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 04, 2024
Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

By Jesse Valentine - December 22, 2023
Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

By - December 15, 2023
Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

By Jesse Valentine - December 08, 2023
Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

By Jesse Valentine - December 07, 2023
Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

By Anna Liz Nichols, Michigan Advance - December 06, 2023
105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

By Jesse Valentine - December 05, 2023
For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - December 04, 2023
Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - November 30, 2023
Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

By Jesse Valentine - November 06, 2023
Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

By Jesse Valentine - November 03, 2023
Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

By Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today - October 24, 2023
Exposed: Wisconsin Senate candidate Eric Hovde’s opulent California lifestyle

Exposed: Wisconsin Senate candidate Eric Hovde’s opulent California lifestyle

By Jesse Valentine - March 01, 2024
Follow the money: Tim Sheehy takes thousands from drug company lobbyists

Follow the money: Tim Sheehy takes thousands from drug company lobbyists

By Jesse Valentine - February 29, 2024
Judge behind Alabama embryo ruling has ties to Ted Cruz

Judge behind Alabama embryo ruling has ties to Ted Cruz

By Jesse Valentine - February 29, 2024
Telehealth abortions on the rise since Dobbs, new report shows

Telehealth abortions on the rise since Dobbs, new report shows

By Sofia Resnick, States Newsroom - February 28, 2024
Utah lawmakers want to repeal abortion clinic ban hoping it will speed up trigger law case

Utah lawmakers want to repeal abortion clinic ban hoping it will speed up trigger law case

By Katie McKellar, Utah News Dispatch - February 27, 2024