GenBench: Bridging generational divides in a digital world
The brainchild of Kate Keifa, Dušan Vuković, and Maria Mežote, GenBench was born from a shared observation: the growing chasm in communication between generations.
“In our fast-paced, digital-focused lives, we’ve lost touch with the art of deep, meaningful conversations,” Kate Keifa, a PR specialist from Ukraine, observes, pinpointing the lack of emotional intelligence and connection in contemporary society, particularly in Ukraine.
GenBench: A physical counterpart to digital isolation
Dušan Vuković, a content creator and influencer from Serbia, highlights the project’s emphasis on physical spaces as a counterbalance to the digital realm.
“In Serbia, I noticed a disconnect; older generations struggle with the rapid pace of technological change, while the youth often feel misunderstood,” he says. This observation led to the creation of GenBench, a space where these disparate groups can converge and communicate.
Tackling stereotypes and fostering empathy
Maria Mežote, a film director from Latvia, reflects on the broader societal implications of GenBench. “Our initial idea was a park for grandparents and grandchildren, symbolizing intergenerational bonding. We then realized a bench could serve a similar purpose, offering a simple yet effective platform for dialogue.”
This approach encourages conversation and helps dispel common misconceptions between age groups.
The creators of GenBench envision its expansion beyond Novi Sad and Riga. “Our dream is to see these benches in every city, fostering dialogues that transcend age and cultural barriers,” Maria shares.
The project aims to create a global network of benches, each serving as a catalyst for empathy and understanding.
Beyond the Bench: A movement for connection
GenBench represents a movement towards a society where different generations not only coexist but actively engage and learn from each other.
“We’ve seen how a simple conversation on a bench can break down years of misconceptions and build bridges of empathy,” Filip Ćuković, the panel host, remarks. The project underscores the power of human connection in an increasingly digital world.
GenBench is more than just a physical installation; it’s a testament to the enduring power of human connection. As the project expands, it carries the potential to transform societal perceptions, fostering a world where the wisdom of age and the vibrancy of youth are not just acknowledged but celebrated.
In the creators’ words, “GenBench is our hope for a future where conversations can heal, unite, and inspire across generations.”