I started this piece of work with a question:
How could I enhance visibility of and change perceptions about AGEING, or ELDERLY PEOPLE, with an interactive artwork set in a virtual environment?
I started to explore different VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS and their relation to the real world, to read about various forms of INTERACTION, ACTIVISM and awareness creation, to collect IMAGES and REPRESENTATIONS OF ELDERLY PEOPLE.
The book: Relational Aesthetics by Nicolas Bourriaud, made me understand that interactive art is not limited to video sequences, triggered by the movements or voices of the audience.
Bourriaud describes the work of art as, social interstice. The central themes are, being-together. It is about, provoking, and managing, individual or collective encounters, in which, there is a degree of randomness. Artists produce relational-space elements, inter-human experience, and offer, new life possibilities, different from those in everyday life.
I was also influenced by Jean Baudrillard‘s ideas on simulation and hyperreality, who argues, that in a modern global society, there is no more reality, but only simulated versions of reality, a state of, hyperreality.
Then, with the discovery of some major artworks in SECOND LIFE, of artists like, Aram Bartholl, or , Chinese artist , Cao Fei, who blur the line between REAL and VIRTUAL, visually or conceptually, juxtaposing AESTHETICS DERIVING FROM DIFFERENT WORLDS, or, works of the Italian duo artists, Eva and Franco Mattes, making advertisement for fake products, my project took a new direction.
And so I decided, to approach the ageing issue, with the creation of a virtual senior home in Second Life, with different forms of interaction.
I invite my friends to join me in 50 years at the ‘The Funky Senior Home’, that I have conceived in Second Life.
By accepting the invitation, my friends become my guest avatars and can interact with me on a regular basis in Second Life.
Condition: They need to look 50 years older than they look now.
In Second Life, you hardly see avatars representing elderly people. At the Funky Senior Home, I wish not only to represent elderly people but I also wish to show them in unusual situations.
The Funky Senior Home is a fake home. It does only exist in Second Life. It is not a representation of an existing home. By promoting an unreal senior home and by engaging my friends to project themselves into the future within this fake home, I wish to rise awareness about the necessity to imagine new societal models and more creative lifestyles for elderly people.
For each session, I bring new elements into the scene and let my ‘guests’ explore them. The place and its scenery evolve progressively. Some of the sessions are screen recorded and exist on their own as video machinima.