UNC Wilmington Faculty Collaborate on Unique “Face Age” Exhibit, April 9-22

The Face Age Project is a multi-media faculty collaboration at UNCW looking at people's perceptions of aging and their faces.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

A multi-disciplinary collaboration between five faculty members at the University of North Carolina Wilmington has yielded a unique multi-media installation combining elements of science, technology, engineering, arts and math, as well as aging research, that draws viewers' attention to their perceptions about aging.

On display in the exhibition space of the Warwick Center on the UNCW campus from April 9-22, Face Age is part of the month-long celebration of the installation of Chancellor Gary L. Miller and is free and open to the public.

The Face Age exhibition features three large-panel projection screens, with two of them facing one another and the other at one end to create the effect of a "room." This allows the viewer to walk through into the midst of large-scale projected faces having a conversation with one another. The faces are from two generations, traditional age college undergraduates and participants with more life experience, sharing their feelings and perceptions about aging and their faces. It also uses face aging technology to "age" the faces of the undergraduates and "de-age" those of the elder participants.

Face Age was conceived as a collaborative effort with faculty members Andy Belser (Theatre), Dave Monahan (Film Studies), Ellie Covan (Gerontology), Brenda Pavil (Nursing) and Karl Ricanek (Computer Science). Ricanek is director of UNCW's Face Aging Group, which conducts research in biometrics and facial aging modeling.

The faculty team gathered a group of five participants with more years of life experience through the university's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and paired them with five undergraduate Theatre majors for a daylong workshop in a studio in the Department of Theatre.

Exercises during the day included:

Writing and speaking with one another about experiences and perceptions of their faces in their pasts

Writing and speaking with each other about features of their own faces that they liked or did not like

Looking together at images of each partner's faces as it was aged or de-aged (respectively) using software created by the Face Aging Group

Speaking with each other about how they experience the partner's face, particularly with respect to aging

Exploring the sensation of touching one another's faces and experiencing the wrinkles and imperfections of human faces

"The day turned out to produce some amazing stories from the participants," said Belser, "and the participants formed strong bonds with one another."

The Face Age project is part of a science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) initiative at UNCW to bring the arts in closer alliance with the sciences.

This event is one of more than 40 that are planned throughout the month of April in honor of the installation of UNC Wilmington Chancellor Gary L. Miller. Installation events showcase the diverse extent of teaching, research and service underway at UNCW, with involvement by numerous students, faculty and staff members. Miller will be officially installed as the fourth chancellor of UNCW on April 20.

Media contact:
Dana Fischetti, media relations manager, 910.508.3127 or fischettid@uncw.edu