The Whiteness Project presents an ongoing social investigation on the white race through a series of video interviews in North America. This project does not only report the thoughts of those who consider themselves white or partially white, it provides a series of spaces for conversation about whiteness in a country that is ‘hungry’ — in the words of Whitney Dow, the project’s creator — to talk about this topic. However, what sets this installation apart from many other studies is the sense of introspection that it showcases and inspires.
Although the Whiteness Project is now present on various digital platforms, its initial version is on their website — whitenessproject.org. The site creates its own take on a branching narrative of open-ended interviews. As a viewer, you are shown a series of possible directions to take. All of these are different, yet they I believe that the founders of this project chose a website as medium because of the fact that the web provides an elastic platform where publishers can keep the project growing as work is simultaneously being produced and shared.
The deliberate decision to keep a constant visual template complements the non-linear nature of the two series — “Intersection of I” and “Inside the White/Caucasian Box” — very well. The template would be a stream of portraits with a single quote from each interview.
Furthermore, when you click on one of these faces you are directed to an interview. The short interview showcases a given white person’s testimony. But, more importantly, it has a link that takes you to a Discus discussion on the specific interview and another one to share the video on social media.
The project was developed by Whitney Dow, Two-Tone Production, and POV—a film branch of PBS. This cohort of thinkers, writers, film-makers and designers displays the amount of effort and financial support needed to publish a project of this magnitude.
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I see this project as necessary. Surprisingly, I found it uncomfortable because of just how blatantly straightforward biases and negative stereotypes are portrayed in this project. As I am often slightly confused regarding what “box” to tick in different forms and scenarios.