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the demedarts

© Copyright Protected

Project Description





DEMEDARTS is an artistic research project of the Center for Didactics for Art and Interdisciplinary Education at the University of Applied Arts Vienna.

Funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), within the PEEK-program (Programm zur Erweiterung und Erschließung der Künste): A-609 ; Project DOI: 10.55776/AR609

The project runs from: 2020 – 2024


2024 Arte Laguna Prize for Art & Design. International Prize for Contemporary Art.


AWARD FUNDER: Italian Cultural association MoCA (Modern Contemporary Art)

Ruth Mateus-Berr and Pia Scharler


These rollators stand for Critical Design, a design style that criticizes things or conditions, draws attention to a deficiency in design and demands the right to a self-determined and self-confident aesthetic. The objects are not intended for actual use, but should contribute to a change in design. This can also create an interaction that can have a positive effect on people with dementia with a basic withdrawal behavior and experience of loneliness, because it can be assumed that people will be addressed by rollators designed in this way. 


Design references are inspired by works by Atelier van Lieshout, who produced individual solutions for mobile home users, as well as biographical research. This also draws on experiences from reminiscence therapy, which deals with memories from personal biographies. This is supplemented by visual, haptic, auditory and olfactory design and in relation to body memories, which still require a great deal of research in dementia research. 

However, we were also particularly influenced by personal statements and descriptions of needs from people with dementia, such as:

"Why can't I be cheerful and crazy just because I'm old and have dementia?"

"I want to take up space in society!"

"I want to be heard!"

"I don't feel addressed at all by the design, the design for old people, in fact it makes me really depressed."


The topic of art and dementia is 1. about raising awareness of the topic of dementia - e.g. with the rollators as critical design: it is not about usability, but the objects draw attention to the needs of those affected, who want to remain part of our society, have the right to be crazy and have fun and want to be addressed by a different aesthetic, 2. about creating opportunities for people with dementia, relatives and carers to use art as a method to create well-being. Biographical references are taken up in a haptic-aesthetic way. At the same time, the objects also draw attention to the need for interaction and the disappearance of loneliness.

Demedarts Website

Künstlerhaus Exhibition Page

Media Coverage

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