Context and Rationale

“Puerto Rico is aging more rapidly than almost any country. In the last 10 years, Puerto Rico has nearly doubled its percentage of adults older than age 65 from 13% in 2010 to 21% in 2019… left behind older adults in Puerto Rico are facing the reduction of social resources and potential caregivers, disrupted social networks and environments, and increased social isolation: social factors highly associated with overall health and well-being in late life. (Aging and the Left Behind: Puerto Rico and Its Unconventional Rapid Aging The Gerontologist, Volume 62, Issue 7, September 2022,Pages 964–973).

The challenges of this unprecedented growth are compounded by the still prevalent negative impact of the global pandemic on this population. UK-based Help Age International (https://www.helpage.org) reports that the pandemic has exposed age discrimination like never before. The elderly have been separated and isolated, portrayed as weak and defenceless, and their rights have been ignored. This has taken a heavy toll on their health and well-being, with people in their sixties facing more violence, abuse, and neglect today than before the pandemic. We know that whilst society as a whole is enjoying the ‘return to normal’, the negative impact on health, mental, social and financial conditions of this sector make this a still to be achieved goal. Many feel that activities in the cultural and social sector do not take into consideration the themes and concerns of the older population focussing on the interests of the young.

Addressing the Need: the Positive Impact of the ‘Digital Shift’

The acceleration of the digital shift as the result of the pandemic, however, brought with it the seeds of new thinking that is beginning to address aspects of the aforementioned situation. International studies have demonstrated the value of digital tools in contributing to creative and cultural participation to the wellness in the aging population: “While older adults feel more isolated in 2020, many feel positive about the benefits of technology and have increased technology use during the pandemic to support their health, wellness, and communication needs. The results highlight the potential of technology for supporting older adults in various aspects of healthy aging” (Older People’s Use of Digital Technology During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Bulletin of Science & Technology Soc. 2022 Jun; 42(1-2): 19–24). In Puerto Rico, examples of action towards access and application of digital tools to support well-being are beginning to emerge. This project aims to add to efforts to increase and goes a step further by addressing and promoting cultural presence, defined as the interrelation of the following factors: cultural representation and engagement, social presence, and communicational aspects of technology (Pujol, 2018) .

Within the context of the project the term embraces action to open a space for the older population to be present, engage with and most importantly influence the cultural expressions and representations of Puerto Rican contemporary society. The term suggests an active relationship – an interaction that is not only technological “but also as a creative, imaginative, and potentially political mode of being” (Report Digital Access to Arts and Culture, Arts Council England, June 2022).


The project HOME[A]GE is designed as a creative and digital arts intervention delivered over six-weeks. The project adopts a transdisciplinary approach in the recognition that “complex problems require complex solutions” (Nicolescu, 1987) and therefore it is structured around three inter-related strands:


DANCE AND MOVEMENT : the project will deliver a series of assisted dance and movement workshops. The workshops are ‘choreographic’, that is, engaging participants in the creation of expressive movement that can be shaped towards a dance form of artistic expression. The material developed could have a synthesis with the Digital Creation aspect of the process.

DIGITAL CREATION: the project will deliver a series workshops exploring the use of multiple digital platforms ( i.e film capture and editing, sound production, digital journaling, AI image generation) for creative and expressive aims. The digital explorations could incorporate capturing and shaping the elements from the dance and movement processes.


CONVERSATIONS: Each participant will participate in a conversation (interview) to be recorded. The focus of the interviews is on their life stories. For this generation it is important to note that their lives correspond with significant changes in Puerto Rico towards ‘modernity’. The interviews aim to collect and therefore acknowledge their contributions to the history of Puerto Rico, no matter how large or small their scope, opening a window into history from the viewpoint of each unique individual. The creative processes also serve to generate material that is expressive and contribute to the first narrative accounts of the experiences of this population. The narratives are open ended, there is no imposed theme but will embrace and give shape to the multitude of stories that will emerge from the processes.


The material generated from the processes will be given digital form for public distribution, for example: as a ‘film essay’, as a podcast library/digital archive, as an installation Our intent is to bring these hidden narratives to the fore through digital distribution and incite change of the negative socially imposed attitudes towards aging as a period of loss or the classic melancholic retrospective of time gone 'that will not return'. The precedent that Vision.AiI.R-e seeks to promote with HOME[A]GE is that, from now on, the narratives of the protagonists of the golden age begin to form part of all future universes: live, hybrid and digital.

All aspects of the project, concept, narrative, research, methodology and images are protected under Copyright, Ana Sánchez-Colberg and Vision.AI.R-e, all rights (2023). No part of the project can be used for any other purpose than that of Home[a]ge.