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Aging Gracefully, An Installation Video Piece

Lauren Noelani Calhoun

Aug 2008

Original Post

Posted on:
March 25, 2009
Posted in:
On the Street, Community-based
Aging Gracefully, A documentary video- installation: What I am looking for: I am in the research and development stage of creating an installation-video piece about women above the age of 65 and their relationship with their bodies. I am looking for women who live in New York City who are willing to speak on-camera about their relationship with their body over a lifetime. Please contact me with ANY questions you have about the piece. My email address is and my phone number is 646-248-8822. Description of the piece: Aging Gracefully is an installation-video piece that walks the viewer through the stories of 5-10 women who reside in Brooklyn and who are experiencing the process of aging. The piece will explore both the physical and emotional experience of aging, and through this, questions surrounding loss, mortality and the endurance of life. Bringing together the stories of women from diverse backgrounds and communities in the city, Aging Gracefully will chronicle the life of each woman, specifically her personal journey with her body. The piece will also explore the role specific communities and cultures have played in shaping a woman?s body image over a lifetime. I will be looking for stories that illustrate the struggle to both transcend the body and realize its limitations. Too often, the aging body is a taboo subject in our society. Young women are given clear definitions of what it means to be beautiful in a young body, and are given implements to stay young, artificially and otherwise. But no one discusses what it means to grow old, to embrace an aging body- no woman is given directions on how to age gracefully. With this piece, I hope to open up a space for dialogue between young and elderly women about the process of aging and embracing our lives as women, in the bodies we're given. Who I am: My name is Lauren Calhoun and I am a woman-documentary filmmaker, living in Brooklyn. I currently work at the public access television station in Manhattan, as a media educator and simultaneously, I am filming a documentary about the lives of public access television producers and their experience in Manhattan. I have directed two other films. One of the films, entitled ?Sweet Refrain,? chronicles the demise of the sugar industry in Hawaii, interviewing displaced workers and management about the end of the sugar industry. The other film is a short piece that asks 4 young people who lived through the Siege of Sarajevo to reflect on their experience and talk about war, peace and the future of the Balkan region. Some of the questions I will be exploring: *Has your perception of your body changed over the years? *Does aging shed light on any other areas of your life? *What advice would you give to younger women about their body and self-image? *How can we shape a positive image of women over a lifetime? *Should we, or how should we, re-examine aging as a culture? Not questions with ready answers, but they are meant to spark discussions I?d like to have with a broad group of women, of all ages. Something to note: Nudity will be included in this piece. I am also looking for women who are willing to be filmed in tasteful nude portraits that will be projected on the walls surrounding the installation. If you do not want to have your portrait taken, and just want to be interviewed, you will have to be comfortable with the fact that your story is part of a larger piece that does contain nudity. The reason for nudity: I think it is an important facet of the piece. The reason the nude images of women displayed are important to me is because I want women to take back the concept of "beautiful" that the mass media has co-opted. I want the installation to be a type of alternative billboard, taking back our bodies as real women. I think these semi-nude/nude portraits will be beautiful and will be a very strong message for both younger and older women: women do not have to hide their body at any age. Lighting and the placement of the camera will be kind and tasteful. Each woman who allows me to film her portrait will have a final say in the matter of whether or not to use the footage. I want any woman who decides to be nude to be completely comfortable in doing so. Please contact me with ANY questions you have about the piece. My email address is and my phone number is 646-248-8822. Thank you so much in advance and I look forward to hearing from you!

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