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ADRI to Host Preview of ‘Face.Age,’ Project Aimed at Changing Perceptions of Aging

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Caleb and David

The College of Arts and Architecture’s Arts and Design Research Incubator (ADRI) will present a preview of “Face.Age,” a multimedia installation featuring cross-generational encounters, April 6–8, 1–5 p.m., in 16 Borland Building. The preview, open for drop-in visits at any point during this time period, is presented as part of Careers in Aging Week (April 3–9). A public reception will be held on Wednesday, April 6, 4–5 p.m.

“Face.Age,” which recently won the Aging Re-Imagined Short Film Competition sponsored by Wake Forest University, places audiences within a synchronized, three-screen surround where younger (18–22) and older (70+) participants can be seen studying, describing, and touching 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. The preview will feature three of the installation’s six sections. “Face.Age” will have its full premiere at the HUB-Robeson Center in August 2016.

According to “Face.Age” Director Andrew Belser, professor of theatre and director of ADRI, 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 wellbeing throughout one’s life aligns well with the goals of “Face.Age.”

“’Face.Age’” is an opportunity to bring different audiences together to share perceptions of the aging experience and build understanding across generations,” she said. “’Face.Age’ celebrates that every person has something to learn and teach. We are eager for our community to have ‘Face.Age’ experiences.”

The Center for Healthy Aging will conduct several activities during Careers in Aging Week, including inviting students to see the “Face.Age” preview. When students exit “Face.Age,” they will be asked to write a one-word reaction to seeing the installation, which will be posted so other visitors can see and respond to the students’ reactions.

According to Belser, the overarching goal of “Face.Age” is to change perceptions of aging across generations. “We’ve lost a lot of the mentoring that used to happen because of the breakdown of the family, increased use of technology, and a variety of other reasons. Our hope is that we can encourage college students to interact more with other generations and create a different fabric for our culture.”

“Face.Age” collaborators include, at Penn State, Cody Goddard, editor; Amy Lorek, community engagement coordinator; Bill Doan, story circle leader; and Emily Burns, installation designer. “Face.Age” was filmed in Wilmington, N.C., where collaborators included Dave Monahan, lead editor and project co-director; Nate Daniel, cinematographer; and Aaron Cavazos, editor. “Face.Age” has been funded by ADRI, the Center for Healthy Aging, and Penn State’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities.

For more information, visit http://sites.psu.edu/adri/faceage/.

Photo by Nate Daniel