27 Sep 2019 — 16 Nov 2019



Tues-Sat 10am-5pm


An intimate interactive engagement with the complex emotional and perceptual world of dementia.


The Visit, 2019
Interactive video installation
Duration, 20 mins

The Visit is an interactive real-time video installation, developed from a ground-breaking research project conducted by artists and psychologists working with women living with dementia. Visitors are invited to sit with Viv, a life-sized, photorealistic animated character whose dialogue is created largely from verbatim interviews, drawing us into a world of perceptual uncertainty, while at the same time confounding stereotypes and confronting fears about dementia.

Like the women who co-created her, Viv experiences various dementia-related symptoms, including hallucinations and confabulation (unconscious fabrication as means of making sense of information). She is also insightful and reflective. Viv is living a life and coming to terms with a neurological change.

The interactive video is sensitive to the motions of the viewer so that Viv is ‘aware of’ and responds to your presence in her home but the piece invites quiet attentiveness rather than the kind of interaction characteristic of gaming. Sit with and listen to Viv without judgement, irritation, pity or despair, finding a way into her world.


Director and Producer: Jill Bennett
Art Director and Production Design: Volker Kuchelmeister

Cast: Voice actress: Heather Mitchell
Motion Capture actress: Emma Kew

Script: Jill Bennett, Natasha Ginnivan
Script consultants: Melissa Neidorf, Gail Kenning, David Pledger

Interviewees/contributors: Prue Uther, Joan Eva, Jennifer Bute, Wendy Mitchell

Researchers: Natasha Ginnivan, Chris Papadopoulos, Melissa Neidorf, Gail Kenning.

Motion Capture: Joe Holloway
Voice recording: Tobias Gilbert
3D Artist: Chris Norris, Jason Dobra
3D scanning: Matt Cabanag (UNSW LITEroom)
LIDAR: Bruce Harvey (UNSW Engineering)

Music: Peter Sculthorpe

Special thanks:

String quartet no. 16 : for string quartet with optional didjeridu (2005), by Peter Sculthorpe, performed by Del Sol Quartet and Courtesy of Sono Luminus. Music published by Faber Music Ltd and used by permission of Hal Leonard Australia.

Stephen Sewell, Luis Dominguez, Karen Kriss, Steve Weymouth, Eva Nolan, the A&D resource centre team, Ant Banister and the participants in the study.

Collaborators with lived experience are at the core of our work. Collaborators may chose to remain anonymous or to be credited using their real name or a pseudonym. In each case the decision rests with them (where appropriate in consultation with carers/family). We thank them all.

A production of fEEL – Felt Experience and Empathy Lab (UNSW) for The Big Anxiety Festival.

Supported by the Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship program.

About fEEL

The Felt Experience & Empathy Lab (fEEL) has been established through funding from the Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship awarded to Professor Jill Bennett, Director of the National Institute of Experimental Art at UNSW Art & Design.

fEEL brings together psychologists and arts researchers utilising immersive visualisation technology to advance the study of subjective experience. With the larger social goal of transforming our capacity to understand stigmatised and devalued populations, and of effectively remediating the effects of stigmatisation and prejudice, it generates insight into first-person perspectives and the dynamic connections that promote societal empathy. One of fEEL’s key projects focuses on the question, ‘What is it like to live with an ageing brain?’.

  • Jill Bennett – Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and Project Director
  • Volker Kuchelmeister – Research Fellow in Immersive Visualisation
  • Natasha Ginnivan – Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Psychology
  • Christopher Papadopoulos – Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Psychology
  • Bec Dean – Postdoctoral Research Fellow, engagement programs
  • Melissa Neidorf –  Manager
  • Gail Kenning – Ageing Futures Institute Postdoctoral Fellow