On October 22, 2009, an installation event called SWAP, by the New Genre Arts 280 class at Whitman College, opened its doors to the local community. Superficially, SWAP was not much more than a simple clothing exchange that took place inside the Fouts Art Gallery on campus, but the event also provided the strange experience of an exchange, inside a clean white walled art gallery. The flexible space of the gallery was designed to mimic a retail store–specifically one targeting those aesthetically conscious and style-savvy customers–complete with dressing rooms, clothing racks, mirrors, couches, stylish furniture, a gargantuan SWAP logo painted on the wall, an LCD flat screen television, hip background music, and high and low end art. These elements helped transform the space into everything one might expect to encounter inside a hip commercial boutique. In the midst of all the ambience and décor were used and unwanted clothes, all of which had either been picked up for free at the end of garage sales, or purchased at the Goodwill clothing bins in Portland, Oregon, for pennies on the dollar.
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