Women Hold Up Half the Sky (2007)

Women Hold Up Half the Sky is a permanent installation in the lobby of the Mills College Life Sciences Building in Oakland, California. This video artwork celebrates the contributions of women in science from ancient to modern times. On two large projections, animations retell the history of women in science, commencing with Hypatia, the Egyptian mathematician, astronomer, and physicist born in the fourth century. The installation shows stylized views of the women at work in their laboratories, and montages of the womens’ discoveries. 

A new scientist appears each month, moving through the Middle Ages to the contemporary era over the course of the school year, and featuring prominent scientists such as Marie Curie and Barbara McClintock. In this way, the work recapitulates the history of women in science as the year advances. 

The young women of Mills College see their course content reflected in the walls of their school, and find role models for the careers they will soon begin. In addition to highlighting some of the most well known women of science, Snibbe’s piece offers a glimpse into the professional lives of some of the schools own pioneers through ground level monitors that show Mills alumnae who currently work as scientists, providing concrete inspiration to faculty, staff, and visitors.


Scott Snibbe Artist & Director
Francesca Penzani Choreographer, Video Producer
Sam Hood Animation Director
Noah Cunningha Assistant Director
High Definition Cinematography
Digital Post-production Supervisor
Research and Script
Matt Haley Storyboards and Script
Sarah Forrester
Joe Canose
Sarah Dungan
Chris Vear
Ryan Hayes
Katherine Trimble Animation Supervisor
Yalda Zaberi Digital Compositing
Xurui Gao Illustration
Astra Price Lighting Director, Green Screen Studio Director
Fontella Boone Costume Designer, Makeup and Hair
Donna Golden Editorial Assistant
Dustin Thompson Lighting and Camera Assistant
Alan Shimoide Software Engineering
Jean-Paul Travers Production Photographer
Deborah-Jean Harmon Project Manager
Reese Minshew Copywriter
Jeff Eisenberg Installation Manager
Patrick Wilson Installer and Fabricator
Mariah Robinson Research Assistant


Lesley Ann Wall as Linda Buck
Rachel Berman as Christiane Volhardt and Barbara McClintock
Dana Vultaggio as Margaret Washburn
Kelsey Boone as Hypatia and Marie Curie
Robin Wilson as Hildegard von Bingen
Yana Velinova as Rachel Carson


Tom Leeser

California Institute of the Arts Center for Integrated Media

California Institute of the Arts Dance Department

Big Vision Studios

Tech Props