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The Art of Aging Symposium


Friday, May 11 – Saturday, May 12 2012

How do we age? Why do we age? Can we extend life greatly, or indefinitely? Scientists and artists have long been fascinated by such questions. The occasion of our 10th annual symposium and the Center’s maturing into the UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics seems an appropriate time to reflect on the “Art of Aging.” Science approaches aging as a biological fact, perhaps as a technical problem to be solved. But aging is more than something to be understood and coped with. Artists have approached aging morally and aesthetically; as a crucial dimension of a healthy society. Despite these apparent differences, both have been concerned, in their own ways, with the genetic inputs for aging (genotype) and the physical manifestation of aging (phenotype). This symposium plumbs this intersection of genetic science and artistic production to explore the “art of aging.” The idea refers to artistic representations of growing older as well as the projects of adapting gracefully to aging as individuals and as a society.

We will explore questions such as: What is the state of genetic research on aging? How are geneticists trying to change how we age? How are scientific possibilities being affected by artistic imaginations? How did we come to think of aging as a disease? How have artists throughout history and across cultures explored human efforts to manipulate the phenotype of aging—for example, through medicine and diet, makeup and dress, narrative, even architecture? And how are they exploring the social, cultural, and individual meaning of using biotechnology to fundamentally alter the “aging genotype”?

The two-day symposium pursues our questions with a Friday evening (May 11) panel bringing leading scientists, artists, and historians together in discussion, and a Saturday (May 12) festival where attendees can explore over a dozen interactive artworks, presentations, and exhibits.

Day 1: Panel Discussion in the CNSI Auditorium

Leading scientists, artists and sociologists discuss their perspectives on aging.
Video , More Details

Moderator, JoAnn Damron-Rodriguez, Luskin School of Public Affairs, Social Welfare, UCLA
Kathy Brew, artist/curator/educator, School of Visual Arts and The New School
Alan Castel, Psychology, UCLA
Steven G. Clarke, Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCLA
Madeline Gins, artist + architect, Reversible Destiny

Day 2: Multiple Events Grouped by Location in CNSI

More Details

CNSI Auditorium
10-12 HOW TO LIVE FOREVER: a film screening and Q&A with director Mark Wexler www.LiveForeverMovie.com
12:15-1 THE ROLE OF MUSIC, MUSICAL THEATRE, AND MUSICAL ACTIVITIES IN THE LIVES OF OLDER ADULTS: a workshop by Barry Bortnick and Sharon Newman
1:30-2:30 PRICKA MAN DEALING WITH PROSTATE CANCER SPENDS A YEAR AS A CHEMICAL EUNUCH: a play excerpt and Q&A with playwright/actor Hal Ackerman (It’s about what it means to be a man when the thing that defines manhood is gone.  It’s Tootsie…but with prostate cancer instead of a dress)
3-4 ARCHITECTURE AGAINST MORTALITY — Modeling Along:  discussion of the video installation with Robert Bowen and Madeline Gins

CNSI 5th floor, Art|Sci Gallery
10-4 GOING GRAY: an installation of video clips, photographs + mixed media by Kathy Brew

CNSI Room 5433 South
ongoing ARCHITECTURE AGAINST MORTALITY — Modeling Along:  a 3-D and 2-D video installation by Arakawa + Gins, Robert Bowen, L. Brandon Krall and Tronvig Group

CNSI 5th floor, Workshop Space
12-12:30 TELEVISION’S MATURE WOMEN: a talk by Myrna Hant
12:30-3 EPIGENETICS OF AGING; CURRENT AGING RESEARCH– MYTHS AND MISCONCEPTIONS; CULTURAL PERSPECTIVES ON AGING; AGING CRAFTS: discussions and activities by the UCLA Society and Genetics Undergraduate Organization
1,1:45,2:30 AN INTERGENERATIONAL EXPERIENCE: SERVICE LEARNING IN THE UCLA AGING CLUSTER:  led by Daphna Gans, Kathy O’Byrne, and Lesley Maradik Harris
3-3:30 THE AGING CLOCK: a talk by Christopher Colwell
ongoing ANTI-AGING IN THE MEDIA:  video collages by Amisha Gadani and Jamie Schenk
ongoing SOCIETY AND GENETICS:  an introduction to our Institute
ongoing VIRTUAL AGING: interactive aging software with Brad Knitz

List Of Presenters

Hal Ackerman, Professor, Theater, Film, TV and Digital Media, UCLA
Barry Bortnick, PhD, Social Psychology; producer of the musical “Songs for the Second Half”
Robert Bowen, School of Visual Arts – core faculty: MFA Photography, Video & Related Media & MFA Computer Art
Christopher Colwell, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, UCLA Medical School
Kathy Brew, School of Visual Arts and The New School
Amisha Gadani, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology + Institute for Society and Genetics Artist-In-Residence, UCLA
Daphna Gans, Ph.D. Research Scientist, UCLA Center for Health Policy research; UCLA Fielding School for Public Health; Faculty, UCLA Aging Cluster
Madeline Gins, procedural architect-biotopologist-artist-scientist-philosopher, Reversible Destiny Foundation
Myrna Hant, Research Scholar, UCLA Center for the Study of Women
Lesley Maradik Harris, Department of Social Welfare; Service Learning Coordinator & UCLA Aging Cluster Teaching Fellow
Sharon Newman, director of the musical, “Songs for the Second Half”
Kathy O’Byrne, Ph.D., Director, UCLA Center for Community Learning
Jamie Schenk, Human Biology and Society major, UCLA
Mark Wexler, Film Director, Wexworld Films www.LiveForeverMovie.com
Society and Genetics Undergraduate Organization, UCLA, including Rasha Ahmed, Norma Boster, Brad Knitz, Gabriela Lazalde + Rebecca Wang
UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics, including Ana Wevill, Takamasa Imai, Rich Moushegian and Eric O’Neill

Friday, May 11, 2012
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Los Angeles, CA, California NanoSystems Institute

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