Mind The Gap: Intergenerational Connectivity between Youth and Seniors- Video Project (Current)// Lead Artist

MINDTHEGAP-3
Soon Featured on Centre[3][ Hamilton for Social & Artistic Practice here:
 
Participatory MARCH BREAK ACTIVITY with artist Matheson: MARCH 14 at 11 am and 1pm. 
 
Project Description:

Mind The Gap

Intergenerational Connectivity Between Seniors and Youth

Organized by Centre[3] for Artistic & Social Practice (Hamilton, ON) and presented at Guelph Civic Museum, Mind the Gap is an exhibition of artworks created by a community of seniors and youths working with practicing artists in Hamilton and Guelph. Through co-creative artmaking, the project aimed to decrease isolation among the participants and to bridge their generational gap.

Centred in collaborative storytelling, multimedia installation, and experimental portraiture, artists Becky Katz and Chyler Sewell in Hamilton and Dawn Matheson in Guelph were each joined by three seniors and three youths, paired together: Joanne and Janeil, Suad and Wren, and Judith and Subomi.

The co-creative elements of the project were originally meant to take place in person. Due to the pandemic and required safety measures, Mind the Gap developed in the virtual realm. The community participants took part in the program digitally. The artists fostered an inviting space that encouraged creativity, trust, intimacy, experimentation, compassion, humour, vulnerability, and genuine connection. The artists and participants bonded with one another despite their physical distance.

The seniors and youths met as strangers at the start of the project. Through virtual workshops, they learned to be attentive to each other’s needs and to engage with curiosity, empathy, and affection. They developed and applied new creative skills, shared knowledge and interests, practiced active listening, and reflected on their own and each other’s identity, culture, and belonging.

The artworks, co-created by the senior and youth pairs, are on view in the Mind the Gap exhibition. Through their art, visitors to the exhibition will discover how strangers became friends, barriers became opportunities, and digital meetings became physical artworks.

 

Dawn Matheson’s Project

The Looking and The Listening 

Project Description

 

The Looking 

(7 min)  

 

I have always been someone who stares, impartially, ever since I was little. I found out fast that this behaviour can make people uncomfortable, so I learned to look away or stare secretly when people weren’t looking.

 

Yet, something enchanting can happen when a gaze is met with good intentions, care and reciprocity.

 

I wanted to investigate whether or not genuine connection can be cultivated in a very short period of time over Zoom with pairs who had not yet met, knew little to nothing about each other and experienced quite a generation gap. 

 

I requested the pairs sit in silence and stare into each other’s eyes (digital eyes) for two-minutes sessions, three times throughout an hour-and-a-half zoom together.

 

The Listening 

(24 min., edited footage, looped/ plus 36 questions accessed through QR codes)

 

The second request involved the other sense available through digital encounters: listening. 

 

Here, I decided to employ “The 36 Questions,” a series of questions developed by social psychologist Arthur Aron in the 1990s supposedly guaranteed to generate closeness, even romantic love, between two strangers.(“The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness” (1997)). 

 

I thought it would be interesting to see how these questions worked in the very distanced digital setting of zoom where the goal was not to produce romantic love, but a genuine, reciprocal intergenerational connection.

 

Questions were delivered one at a time in the Zoom chat to be read aloud — any could go unanswered, for it is always the decision of the participant to choose what to share, not that of the artist. Each respondent was asked to close their eyes when answering and to answer as honestly as they could.