Begging for Youth – Interactive Street Performance Art

This performance piece was performed outside of P8 Gallery.  It was amazing how many people stopped to talk about the issue, all with very strong reactions.

As a woman quickly approaching her 50’s, the issue of “aging” consumes me, as well as most women.  A part of us instinctively knows that the longer we look “younger” the more “acceptance” we will have by society whether it is in the work force or socially.

The older we get, and the older we “look”, the more discrimination we feel.  When women reach the “granny” stage in their appearance, they are largely ignored by society and treated as redundant if not completely invisible.

Yet the age demographics is changing dramatically in our society.  With lower birth rates and living longer years, we are facing a huge increase in “older” people in our society.  In fact, it is estimated that in some western countries, within 20 years the largest population group will be those over 65 and the average age will be close to 50 years old.  If we continue to ignore this group, they will become a heavy burden financially as well as socially.

I do though feel very strongly that we need to change our attitude towards things that are “old”, “broken”, “used” ; whether it is electronic equipment, clothing, or people.  Our “disposable” attitude towards things and relationships is detrimental to our society and these values must change.

My performance piece is attempting to bring these issues forward to our consciousness.

 

****Personal feeling after the performance ****

Positive:

I loved the whole interaction of the piece.  The way I was open to passerbys to talk with me, argue with me, there was no “hiding”.  The subject of aging is very pertinent to most people – older men, and women of all ages.  The piece was provocative enough to engage passer-by’s in conversation.  I love these types of interactions.

 

Negative:

Being a strong person who does not let obstacles stand in my way, in fact obstacles are a strong source of inspiration for me, I found it very difficult to be in the position of the homeless beggar.  I felt no matter which cardboard sign I used, it still felt like I was “crying” poor old me.  People kept wanting me to put my art out on the street for them to see.  I kept telling them, that it wasn’t about me and my art specifically, but the way the society is treating older people as “broken disposable waist” and how this needs to change ….. from our consumption habits to the way we treat people.

 

Conclusion:  I do not want to do this exact performance again, however I do want to create a performance that provokes people to discuss our “disposable society” physically towards materials, clothes and electronics, all the way to older people.

 

 

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