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2020 SPE Annual Conference: Hosted by The University of Houston | Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts | School of Art

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"BAG: What's Inside"

Saturday, March 24 - 10:00AM to 10:45AM
Seacliff AB

The BAG project, conceived by Camille Thoman, began in 2009. Ellie Brown has taken the project and photographed people and their bags in Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, Urbana, IL, Glasgow, MT and Skagastrond, Iceland. After photographing the person and their bag, the subject is asked to arrange the contents of their bags as they wish them to be seen. All of the contents of the bag are catalogued into two categories: What the person was willing to part with and what the person was not willing to part with. The objects they are willing to part with are saved and displayed under their portrait along with the catalogued list of objects. The project means to explore what people are and are not materially attached to and why it is they carry these items on their person. The act of voyeurism occurs at the moment when the person takes the unseen, private contents of the bag and shares them publicly with Ellie, the photographer and then the viewer. The voyeurism continues when the viewer reads what was in the bag and can view what the person was willing to part with. With the clues in image and the image title of the person's name, age and occupation; one can make many inferences about the person and their life. Issues and questions of socio-economic status, gender, geography, occupation and race rise to the surface while exploring the visual information presented in BAG.


Ellie Brown
Ellie Brown

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