Birch Contemporary

Toni Hafkenscheid: 3rd Act

My dad recently turned 92 years old.

He lives in a small room in an assisted living retirement home in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

The room is about 175 sq ft. and resembles a prison cell that holds a table with chairs, TV, a bed and some personal belongings and memorabilia.

This 2-channel video installation is a glimpse into his life.

On a personal level this installation is about:

 1. My sense of guilt about being so far away from my dad. After the death of his wife at age 32, my dad had the difficult task of raising me and my brother all by himself.

In 2002 I moved to Canada, which put a 6000km physical distance between him and me. Once a year I come back to visit him and I usually stay for 10 days. That effectively means that I don’t get to see him for the other 355 days of the year. During those 355 days I am riddled with guilt about abandoning him and can only be thankful that he didn’t do the same to me, after my mom’s death.

2.What is it like to be this old? How do you experience each day with the knowledge that it can be over any moment? I always expect a call in the middle of the night to inform me that my dad has passed away.

3. If I get to be as old as my dad is now, would I have the courage to keep on going like he does?