Embodied Futurities

lecia Neo’s Socially Engaged Art Practice with Caregivers in Singapore

  • Jill J Tan


This article began as a critical essay of the same title, Embodied Futurities, commissioned to accompany
the exhibition of the performance project and video installation Between Earth and Sky (2018-) by
Singaporean artist and cultural worker Alecia Neo. Working with a community of caregivers of persons
with mental illness and degenerative disease in Singapore, Neo’s work and this article connect the
physicality of care work and carer-choreographed movements as forms of embodied praxis. This article
focuses on the co-created work by Neo, the Caregivers Alliance (CAL) caregivers, and the movement
artists, as guided by Neo's commitment to socially-oriented art, a school of practice that seeks to
problematise traditional models of authorship or creatorship through dialogic or collaborative
processes. Neo’s socially engaged artworks are situated in this article as forms of public pedagogy.
Embodied Futurities engages participatory ethnographic methods to develop a critical arts
writing model which advocates for enhancing polyvocality in both art-making and critical discourse
around work. Exploring art-making; movement as autopoiesis (Deleuze and Guattari, 1994); living with
mental illness and degenerative disease; the act and arc of caregiving; and the everyday choreography
of survival (Cox, 2015), this article’s focal points are drawn from the perspectives voiced by caregivers.
Embodied Futurities explores how Between Earth and Sky posits and reorients the body as a site for
expression rather than maintenance, re-envisions the potential of community support networks, and
considers the possibilities of self-care for carers for whom mutuality may seem remote.

How to Cite
TanJ. J. (2023). Embodied Futurities: lecia Neo’s Socially Engaged Art Practice with Caregivers in Singapore. Journal of Public Pedagogies, (7). https://doi.org/10.15209/jpp.1288