REVIEWS: Millennial Turns 30 at PortFringe Installation Fest!

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I was among the first group of people to experience ‘Millennial Turns 30’ by Laura Loy, and what an experience it was! Right off the bat people were asked to recognize their own generations (Millennial, Gen X, Silent Gen, etc…) and carry with them a color coded sticky note pad so they could leave notes at assigned areas. These areas had specific questions or prompts. Based on where you are at in your life (ie: Millennial vs. Baby Boomer) your answers to questions like “What is your greatest fear?” and “Kids?” might be very, very different. [Side note: It was a real treat to come back again later in the evening to see how these answers progressed] These sticky notes were everywhere when I came back in the evening (when I was able to spend more time exploring). Comments were left on different ‘shrines’ to Star Wars and Lord of the Rings memorabilia across from mangled participation trophies as well as exhibits like a cell phone retrospective and a wall calendar on which every day was filled with the word ‘busy’ and the word ‘successful’ emblazoned over top of the whole thing. The entire room was anchored by a large ornate painting of an Australian Shepard in the center, while in the back corner of the building individuals sat and snacked whilst watching The Princess Bride on a laptop. These pieces were what I took most note of, but there were also a plethora of birthday decorations and selfie stations at every turn. Another neat function was that you could make a social media post and it would show up projected on the wall. As someone I was in the room with had successfully uploaded their social media post, I looked down from the projection to see Laura leading a procession around the room where she and a few others were mourning the loss of the things that Millennials have killed, such as brunch and avocados. Due to the nature of the Installation Fest, everyone walked away with a different experience so I’m not sure who all got to see this procession throughout the day, but I’m pretty sure only a small handful of people got to actually meet the dog from the painting. His name is Grover and he loves hotdogs. Laura brought him into the installation and showed us the different tricks he knows. It was wonderful to see some of the inspiration for the installation with my own eyes. It made me feel more connected to what I felt was the message. My takeaway from this piece, other than I was completely unaware of the proper generation breakdowns, is that the pressure that older generations put on Millennials (and those born after them – Gen Z) is most likely the cause for a lot of the things that plague younger people. The world is a giant mess at the moment, but this was an interesting introspection. I don’t think the layout of the room was an accident as it’s very clear the Grover is very special to Laura and everything else in the room was taking place outside of the special spot she had made for him in the installation. Ultimately the message I got was one of self-care and taking a long, hard look at what brings you joy.

— LEE STEPHENS, PortFringe 2019 Review Team

With Millennial Turns 30 we are taken down the rabbit hole and into an interactive, playful, honest look at all things awaiting on the other side of 30. Part birthday celebration, part existential crisis, this installation bombards the senses with what it means to face a milestone age. From a retroactive look at the history of our cellphones, to the looming calendar fully busy and labeled successful, you are placed squarely in the shoes of today’s aging millennials. This piece isn’t just for those close to the big 3-0, as each group is assigned a color to answer questions and some parts having separate directions given based on age. There is also joy as portraits along the wall depict different people as they turn 30 surrounded by the objects they think define them most. There is also the added bonus of cake and appearance by the artist’s faithful canine companion, Grover. Overall, this piece was a fun mix of nostalgia, joy, and ennui. This piece certainly raises the conversation about how the millennials aren’t children anymore and have lots to say. Definitely something to see.

–PortFringe 2019 Audience Review Team