Art, Affect and Aging: Creativity Vs Deficit


Session Title:

  • Art, Wellbeing and Society

Presentation Title:

  • Art, Affect and Aging: Creativity Vs Deficit



  •  (Long paper)

    Keywords: Art, Design, Media_art, Aging, Dementia, Health, Wellbeing, Affect, Ethnography

    As the median age of the global population increases a larger proportion of the population will be what is considered old. The aging process causes physical, cognitive and emotional changes and shifts the individual’s perception of their world. Artists and designers are increasingly working with practices that intervene, interact and bring about transformation. They engage with publics that operate as participants and co-creators and as such are increasingly likely to engage with older people. Western culture has increasingly pathologized aging with a focus on countering its impact and delaying the inevitable end. The individual is addressed as a less able version of him or herself and assessed in terms of deficit, lack and loss. Art and design projects with older people often get caught up in the pathologizing of aging. They are viewed and assessed in terms of art therapies or positioned as assistive technologies within medical, scientific and technological discourses. This critical analysis explores how aging can be addressed in terms of the capacity and potentiality of older people. It investigates how, by employing ethnographic, person-centered approaches focusing on personhood and affect, artists and designers can challenge and transform accepted views of aging.

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