Psychology major attempts to reconstruct student’s realities in library

March 2, 2015

Audrey Jensen
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Students are used to driving around campus and seeing construction sites, but they are not used to seeing construction work inside the Kraemer Family Library.

From Feb. 24-26 “Construction of Reality” was set up in the library with caution tape, multiple boxes, signs and questions for students to answer and throw inside the exhibit.

This project is the first for psychology major Leah Payne in her art and democracy course this semester as she hoped to culture-jam stereotypes by asking students to fill out papers with questions about their realities.

“Generally a good culture jam follows culture but changes something about it. You mimic something, but there’s a bigger message. You’re jamming the culture.” Payne said.

One of the questions on the papers for students to answer and throw inside the caution tape was “What boxes has society put you in?”

“That’s why there are cardboard boxes … People get boxed in by their own stereotypes,” said Payne. “Just because you’re a woman, just because you’re white or just because you have blonde hair says this, this and this about you.”

The original idea for the project started with a media literacy course Payne took.

“It was about how we construct reality and how the people in power have a larger say in how reality is constructed and that’s how you generate social norms and some people just go along with those.”

“I think those can be really harmful if people don’t step back and say ‘why did I think this?” she said.

“You create a perception of reality for yourself, how you go along your day-to-day life and how you view yourself, so we’re constructing realities all the time. You can lose sight of what you think. I wanted to bring attention to that.”

Payne explained that people are more than their stereotypes and that the point of her exhibit is to get students to break out of the boxes they are placed in.

“That’s an important problem with the construction of reality. People will say that’s the way things have always been and why would I challenge that? We’re not recognizing and owning that someone at some point made up a rule and then we build culture around it,” Payne said.