ActiveEnergy: Pittsburgh, Mattress Factory

During the summer of 2012 Loraine Leeson took the concept of Active Energy, as developed through her project with the Geezers in East London, to a residency at the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh organised by curator Hilary Robinson as part of her Feminist and… exhibition.

Working with Northside Seniors, she commenced with a question to the group, similar to the one that initiated the Geezers’ project: “If there were any technology that could be developed that you feel would best support yourselves or your communities, what would that be?” Following some discussion the group arrived at an issue that would turn out to be one of the greatest health concerns for the US – a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease. This group of older women felt that they would also like more information about the disease to help their awareness of its signs, and for this to be more readily available to younger generations, who might then better support family members stricken with the disease.

Members of the group recorded their concerns and experience through video interviews, while research was provided by the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centre at University of Pittsburgh and world leading Alzheimer’s expert Kenneth M. Langa from University of Michigan. This material then became the basis for a six-projector installation at the Mattress Factory museum. Alongside the exhibit a video booth allowed visitors to record experiences of dementia in themselves and others, and identify factors that would offer most support. This materials is able to feed into ongoing research, while the nine-month exhibit has provided a focus for an education programme with young people, where seniors are the experts.

Active Energy: Pittsburgh from Loraine Leeson on Vimeo.