SUSAN HARBAGE PAGE: The White Box ~ Changing Perceptions of Privilege
Susan Harbage Page, photographer and performance artist from North Carolina, will be on the WIU campus for two days in December when she will conduct an interactive performance and video project with students. During the visit on Thursday, December 9 at 6 pm in Sandburg Theater she will give a public talk about her career and this project. The objective of “The White Box–Changing Perceptions of Privilege” performance art and video project is to provoke conversation about race.
Susan Harbage Page has been described as a photographer who “doesn’t take pretty pictures.” Over the past 30 years, she has lived with and photographed a range of people, from Muslim Bedouins to women at Bob Jones University in South Carolina. Her work often focuses on women and themes of identity, spirituality and racism. Susan Harbage Page teaches photography at UNC-Chapel Hill in the studio art department.
Harbage Page describes her own experience of conducting the project recently:
I carried [a white box] with me for a week. It went everywhere I went: dinner parties, the gym, the grocery store, the dentist, road trips, my favorite coffee shop, etc. The project quickly revealed my privileged life and became a nexus for dialogue about whiteness with people - those I knew well and others I would encounter for the first time.
Recently another visiting artist commented about his visit to campus. He said Western is a really special place. He also told the students Western is special because the faculty have provided a very creative and supportive environment. This opportunity–to work with a visiting artist to create a project together–is just what the other visiting artist was talking about. Western is special and the students get very special opportunities here.