New artificial-reality exhibit highlights LGBT+ seniors

The exhibit intimate interviews with features 12 LGBT+ seniors.

A new, interactive LGBT+ exhibit will debut in Brooklyn Heights on Jan. 19, bringing the often-hidden stories of queer elders to light with artificial-reality technology, said one of the people behind the project.  

“Over the span of decades, LGBTQ elders have proven what it means to be resilient and live vibrant and full lives, even in the face of discrimination,” said Michael Adams, the CEO of Advocacy & Services for LGBT Elders. “Too often, the achievements of LGBTQ pioneers are pushed aside or hidden back in the closet as they get older.”

The project — called “Not Another Second” — will live at the Watermark at Brooklyn Heights until March, and will use the AR technology to make the viewer feel a close connection with 12 highlighted LGBT+ seniors, including a former politician, military veteran, Stonewall Survivor and Black Panther. 

“AR allows patrons to experience the emotionally-driven stories of each LGBT+ senior in a new, interactive way, adding a whole new dimension to the already moving photography” said Jennifer Wallace, the co-founder of nAscent Art, which helped create the exhibit. 

Due to either rampant discrimination or fear, the exhibit notes that dozen featured seniors have lost a collective 485 years living in the closet. 

One of the seniors captured in the interactive artwork, navy-veteran Richard Prescott, is featured alongside his husband, Ray Cunningham, and speaks about the struggle of living as a gay man in the 20th Century. 

“In the ’80s and ’90s, everybody was scared to death to come out. They didn’t know who to trust,” Prescott said in a written statement. “I think I lost a lot of years not being myself. That’s why this campaign is so important. Not only do we get to share our stories, but give courage to younger generations who are still scared of being their authentic self.”

“Not Another Second” at The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights [21 Clark St. between Willow and Hicks streets in Brooklyn Heights. www.notanothersecond.com] Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Jan. 19 through March 2021. Reservations required. Free.

This story first appeared on Gay City News.