Care is commonly associated with softness or gentleness. Yet, caregiving involves significant social and economic labour and resources, extracting and demanding energy and time from caregivers. This exhibition seeks to disrupt perceptions of care that have been reduced to wellness by examining the sensations and qualities of performing care for self and others. Through moving images, prints and text, Alecia Neo explores the complexities of caregiving, making visible the weight, vulnerability, tension, cycles, humour, banality, contradiction, improvisation, duty and entanglements embedded in caregiving relationships and ecosystems.
Performing Care is an iteration of the Care Index, an artistic research project initiated by Neo that gathers and enacts diverse care practices performed through everyday gestures and rituals by people from all walks of life. For this exhibition, Neo collaborated with dance practitioners on a video triptych that contemplates how care practices sculpt the carer's vulnerable body, the pervasiveness of self-care industries, and how bodies could resist the pressures of bureaucratic or capitalistic systems. The choreographies in this visual poem meld the performers’ expressions of care with gestures contributed by the public via an open call process for the Care Index. Video collages of public submissions to the Index are mapped alongside prints of data concerning care provision, graphs evoking the likeness of body movement, and text annotations from workshop participants who reflected on their roles within complex care systems.
This exhibition offers movement scores for empathic understandings of care. It imagines the possibilities of embodied movements serving as tools and practices that could be translated and reinterpreted to bring care to others and self.
Performing Care was developed as part of an ARTEFACT residency at Dance Nucleus in 2023, in collaboration with performers Caroline Chin, Kyongsu-Kathy Han, Weiying Tan, director of photography Jonathan Goh and sound designer Tingli Lim.
With thanks to Max Tan, Dolphin Yeo, Milieu Insight and all collaborators and contributors to the Care Index.
Alecia Neo (b.1986, Singapore) is an artist and cultural worker. Her collaborative practice unfolds primarily through installations, lens-based media and participatory workshops that examine modes of radical hospitality and care. Her recent projects include Between Earth and Sky, 7th Anyang Public Art Project (2023), Scores for Caregiving, ArtScience Museum (2023), Power to the People, Karachi Biennial (2022) and ramah-tamah, Asian Civilisations Museum (2020). Iterations of her ongoing project Care Index have been presented at exhibitions, including The Listening Biennial (2021) and Assembly for Permacircular Museums, ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany (2021).