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Facing Age: Art and Technology Come Together to Connect Generations

Posted: May 3, 2016

Face.Age is a multimedia installation featuring younger (18-22) and older (70+) participants studying, describing, and touching one another’s faces. This art installation was developed in North Carolina by Andrew Belser, Penn State Professor of Movement, Voice, and Acting in the School of Theatre. Prof. Belser and his students continue to learn from creating and documenting these intergenerational encounters at exhibits set up at various sites.

A Face.Age premiere at Penn State University is scheduled for August-October 2016 at the Penn State HUB-Robeson Center, where Prof. Belser, students, and collaborators will unveil a portion of the Face.Age installation placing audiences within a synchronized, three-screen surround where younger and older participants study, describe, and touch one another’s faces. A 45-minute loop of moving and still imagery forms a fluid space in which time can slow, permitting a close study of faces rarely afforded in social settings.

According to Professor and “Face.Age” Director Andrew Belser, the installation prompts conversations about a frequently avoided topic — aging. “We see an American culture in which aging is suppressed through subtle and explicit messages bombarding us through products idealizing youth, differing images for beauty between genders, and the threat of declining workforce viability,” he said. “This work opens space in which a community of generations can begin to reconstitute those messages by challenging commonly held cultural perceptions.”

Amy Lorek, research and outreach associate at Penn State’s Center for Healthy Aging, is the community engagement coordinator for “Face.Age.” She said the center’s mission of fostering research and outreach activities that promote health and well-being throughout one’s life aligns well with the goals of “Face.Age.”

Face.Age is a signature ADRI cross-disciplinary partnership between the College of Arts and Architecture, the College of Health and Human Development, and the Center for Healthy Aging.

For background information on the Face.Age concept and exhibition, see the Penn State article, Facing Age: Art and technology come together to connect generations.