The Invisible Space
Phase 1: user + material
Feb 24, 2010
User: Elderly of foreign origin
*+70 Sri Lankan
*Living in Askøy, Bergen for the past 8 years
*Mother of the owner of ‘Taste of Indian’ restaurant on Marken
*Gets weary when there is snow outside
*Attends Methodist Church in Bergen city center every Sunday
*After which, she comes to the restaurant to help
*She comes often to Taste of Indian
Following a Narrative
«THE MOVIE: In New York City’s changing Lower East Side, a group of older Puerto Rican wo-
men and inner-city youth come together to create an original play out of the stories of their lives. Wea-
ving together themes of immigration, evolution, aging and coming of age, Stages offers an intimate
portrait of an unlikely ensemble, transformed by the liberating power of their own stories.» - meerkat-
A situation where one is grouped and supported just through sharing and intertwining with others like
them and others not like them. It makes for a richer and fulfilling experience
“Imperfection is in some sort essential to all that we know of life. It is the sign of life in a
mortal body, that is to say, of a state of process and change. Nothing that lives is, or can be, rigidly
perfect. Part of it is decaying, part nascent …And in all things that live there are certain
irregularities and deficiencies, which are not only signs of life but sources of beauty”
Hapticity and Time – Juhani Pallasma on John Ruskin’s view.
What does it mean to grow old?
Aging –health deteriorating, loss of independence
Growing older – enjoying the fruits of life, grandchildren, peace of mind, enlightenment, pas-
sing of knowledge.
Growing older is turned into a disability, being an immigrant can be turned into a disability when
you cannot find your environment or place of comfort or when you are limited socially.
What does it mean to grow old in a foreign country?
Her world is inside. Living in the comfort and safe environment her son has created for her. Servi-
cing and taking pleasure in food and helping her son run his business. Maybe she has a limited ex-
change during her encounters with the Norwegians. To a certain degree she is isolated from her
foreign environment. The climate, people, language, sound, smell are all very different for her.
Two aspects that assist life as you are getting older:
*One of exchange and sharing: as we see in Stages – the film documentary
*One of the assisting environment: your space, comfort factor. In my user’s case, she
is afraid to go out in the snow because it makes her weary, and needs support of her son.
«A greater interest in the history of one’s cultural group often caracterizes this period. This is
even more marked among immigrants, who at this point in their lives tend to show an increased
involvement in homoethnic community. When evening falls: The immigrant’s encounter with mid-
dle and old age - Salman Akhtar and Lois Wonsun Choi»
Retirement phase for native counterparts is filled
in perhaps by - sking, camping, fishing, golf, travel,
which most often does not suit the immigrant.
Relation with children/grandchildren
Children might/might not leave home. If they leave
parents will see the ‘state of their home resembling
an empty nest’ leading them to rely more on cultu-
ral community. They find their grandchildren idealize
them less and seek their advice less. This coupled
with the generational and cultural gap leeds the to
sometimes feel that their grandchildren are not a true
continuation of their line.
«...with increasing isolation and
despair, a longing for acceptan-
ce and unconditional love of
the sort only the mother of early
childhood can provide...their ori-
ginal home becomes a figurative
Garden of Eden for which they long
as a representation of their youth
and great potential lost. When
evening falls: The immigrant’s en-
counter with middle and old age
- Salman Akhtar and Lois Wonsun
The Convalescent c.1860, Charles Emile Auguste Carolus-Duran
creating an emotive object
that links to comforting mo-
ments during earlier life.