The Perennial Mindset in the Era of Ageless with Gina Pell and Susan Hoffman
Laura Belik on the Arts + Design Mondays @ BAMPFA | Public (Re)Assembly talk series
The Perennial Mindset in the Era of Ageless with Gina Pell and Susan Hoffman on March 5, 2018
“Perennial is a neologism, a new term, and I am here to present this new term for you today”, started the lecturer Gina Pell. One important characteristic of “Perennial” is that it is, on top of everything else, a mindset. Pell explained how the term in a sense is a response to generational divisions or groups, such as millennials, but that it also tries to break off with the idea of categorizing each generation in the first place.
Pell started using “Medium” as an online writing platform, where she first posted her essay “Meet the Perennials”. Little that she knew, her words would quickly go viral. She attributed this partially to the overflow of information on millennials, and precisely for providing an alternative for that generation that would be less divisive. The lecturer shared a list of Perennial definitions, including again, how it is above all a mindset. It also addressed how “Perennial” includes people of all ages that are curious, that have a growth mindset, that know how to perceive themselves and the others as well as the connections around them, and finally, that resist categorization. On the latter, she explained how there is an overlap of behaviors that cannot be addressed purely by an age categorization, and that we need to not be stereotyped by what “our generation” does.
As Pell reminded us, big companies today mostly direct their products and projects based on an algorithm of behavior, not age. Nevertheless, she also recognizes why there is this obsession with grouping generations. First, we can understand this because of the rapid and unforeseen growth of the population of millennials in relation to previous ones – and that today has already been overpassed by the Generation-Z. Second, there is a cultural and social aspect to our obsession with age and the idea that we need to follow a certain imposed life path. But, as Pell argues, we need to overcome these preconceived concepts. We need to move on from a linear mindset; we need to transcend it and understand that things have cycles and that they never work as a line from “failure to success”. “We need to activate our Perennial Mindset”, she defends.
By the end of the lecture Susan Hoffman, Director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, joined the stage for comments. Hoffman reiterated the importance of thinking not just about generations, but about Pell’s idea of the mindset behind them. Not only that, she added some food for thought on how we should consider that today’s longevity makes us think about time differently.
Laura Belik (PhD Student, Architecture) reviewed the March 5th talk, The Perennial Mindset in the Era of Ageless, as part of the Spring 2018 Arts + Design Mondays @ BAMPFA series. To learn more about the series, see below:
What is the role of public assembly in our current moment? And to what degree are new models necessary to respond artistically and technologically to our political climate? After a highly successful launch of Arts + Design Mondays @ BAMPFA in Spring 2017, Berkeley Arts + Design is pleased to present a new suite of exciting lectures that explore the theme of “public (re) assembly” from a variety of perspectives. The word assembly carries a range of associations. It challenges us to think about the democratic right to assemble; it recalls the artistic history of assemblage. It provokes us to imagine new systems of arrangement that respond to a digital age. It asks to consider how UC Berkeley might re-imagine the “school assembly” as a site of social transformation. Learn more here.