Window Dressing Open Access
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Window Dressing is an exhibition that makes a public display of systemic privilege with a particularly careful eye to the way privilege is constructed, maintained and perpetuated by systems. Privilege is made material in the space of the gallery through the use of 'display' as a controlling metaphor.
Systemic privilege is difficult to conceptualize for a number of reasons. Perhaps the most significant struggle is in coming to terms with the ways individuals are affected by privilege, and, what is more, benefit from it. Likely these benefits come in subtle ways that are uncomfortable to reconcile to perceptions of the self. Privilege is the product of an individual’s situatedness in race, class, gender, ability . It is a series of power dynamics that intermingle and cumulatively affect the lived experience.
Consistently having conversations about privilege means coming to terms with questions such as: “How do you benefit from privilege? What does it look like in your life?” These are, in some ways impossible questions. As privilege is systemic, many of its damaging features are invisible, affecting everyday lived experiences in very subtle ways. I could, of course, look to Peggy McIntosh’s writing and understand manifestations of privilege in the ways “I can easily find academic courses and institutions which give attention only to people of my race,” or “I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group" . But what is more significant is recognizing that the systemic is enmeshed in society. Privilege is not a separate thing, outside of culture and norms. Privilege is an everyday process.
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