Screening Room-Mezzanine

Progress vs. Regress explores the influence of technological innovations on social relationships through the perspective of the elderly, who have experienced the most sudden and widespread industrial, technological and digital changes in the history of humankind. Through the protagonists’ personal, intimate and touching stories the film portrays the needs, expectations and challenges of a generation that is trying to integrate in a society that is striving for constant progress, efficiency and speed. The film investigates how ideas of ‘progress’ affect attitudes towards labour, money, time and emotions. Embedded within it lies the story of how we, as a society, treat the elderly, who are often perceived as having no economic value, are not represented in our visual culture, and are marginalised. By trying out various playful and humorous experiments, Bonajo’s film asks us to reshape our view of the elderly, while also questioning our own relationship with rapid technological advancements, information anxiety, and their effects on humans today.

Ultimately, Progress vs. Regress is a film about how technological innovations have changed social relations and about how they radically alter practices of everyday life. It is about how human beings are being increasingly thrust into new forms of ‘normality’, about the fear of being left behind as one gets older, and how social media and technology put additional pressure on our ability to adapt to new situations.


Melanie Bonajo is an artist, filmmaker and activist. Through their videos, performances, photographs and installations they examine current conditions of existence and address themes of eroding intimacy and isolation in an increasingly urbanized and technological world. Their works present alternative and anti-consumerist methods to re-connect, explore sexualities, intimacies and feelings. Bonajo’s experimental documentaries often feature communities living or working on the margins of society and highlight the importance of a strong sense of community, equality and body politics within our societies. Bonajo’s work was featured in the Dutch Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale (2022). Other exhibitions include: Shanghai Biennale (2022); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2021); Helsinki Art Museum (2020); Rencontres, Arles (2019); Haus der Kunst, Munich and 1st Riga International Biennial of Contemporart Art (2018), Manifesta 12, Palermo; Kunstverein Frankfurt, and Tate Modern, London (2017).