Designing persistent maladjustments: age simulation suits and the problematization of elder's agency
(Universitat Oberta de Catalunya)
Daniel Lopez Gomez (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya)
Paper short abstract:
We approach age simulator suits as test settings designed to hamper the material and emotional adjustments between the body and the environment, focusing a process of disentangling the individual agency of the elder and the collective agency of infrastructures in a new space of problematization.
Paper long abstract:
In recent years, age simulation suits have proliferated as useful tools for researchers, designers, caregivers and even policy-makers to better address older's people needs. These suits are designed to make users gain first-hand insight into the experience of age-related impairments. They are usually meant to either sensitize and train health and social care professionals or enable designers, planners and engineers to develop age-friendly products. This contribution aims to understand how age is materially produced in these simulations through the analysis of self-reported experiences trying out a suit, advertisements and materials produced by developers, and interviews and observations with consultants working with age suits. Drawing on material-semiotic studies of disability (Winance 2006, Moser 2003), we approach age simulations as test settings designed to hamper the material and emotional adjustments between the body and the environment. We focus on the process of disentangling the individual agency of the older person and the collective agency of services and infrastructures for older people. We argue that this produces a space of problematization where the bodies, technologies and environments can be reconfigured according to new problem definitions and expert interventions, turning age suits into boost innovation devices of the new silver economy.
Assembly, silence and dissent in the design and use of gerontechnologies