Under the Skin
Curated by Cheong Kah Kit for NTU CCA Singapore’s Free Jazz III
Part of Proposals for Novel Ways of Being
1 December 2020 – 31 January 2021
Under the Skin, curated by artist Cheong Kah Kit, showcases the experimental practices of George Chua, Nina Djekić, and Noor Effendy Ibrahim, three artists who engage with sound, bodily movements, and performance to examine contemporary body and identity politics. Well versed in theatre, dance and visual art settings, their practices resist categorisation. Bringing together elements of performance, sound and visual art in response to the theme of Proposals for Novel Ways of Being, the artists have each been commissioned to produce new work reflecting their own experiences of the sudden uncertainty and loss of normalcy during the global COVID- 19 pandemic – abrupt shifts in social interaction and daily routines, confinement and physical limitations, adjustments and reorientations to relationships. The artists will work with Singapore artist, filmmaker and cinematographer Russell Morton to realise these performative works through the medium of video, and the three final video works will be presented online. While the current conditions of our lives also expose global fragilities and social divisions, this project draws mainly from the spaces, experiences and materialities of everyday life, where the effect of the pandemic is, perhaps, most potent and surreptitious.
Under the Skin is part of NTU CCA Singapore’s Free Jazz III. As the title suggests, Free Jazz is about improvisation and the ability to listen, respond, and engage in a less prescribed and controlled environment. Improvisation stands for a form of inquiry that can become an active tool to generate new possibilities for conceptualising and programming art institutions. Collaborative and experimental by
nature, Free Jazz III will build upon its past iterations—bringing together artists, curators, and scholars to activate and challenge our common understandings of exhibition-making. Reflecting on the loss of physicality through increased virtual interactions during the COVID-19 pandemic, Free Jazz III will address a new kind of body awareness, common life and communality in times of social distancing – celebrating ways of coming together to transcend distance, and advocating for the free use of space through collective and performative approaches. Focusing on works that engage the public through sound and performance, Free Jazz III will span six months from October 2020 to March 2021, encompassing both real and virtual modes of witnessing and participating in real-time and asynchronous experiences.
Under the Skin
We have arrived at a precarious moment of self-reckoning, where the pandemic has reshaped how we see ourselves and the world around us. As the spaces we inhabit change and the world closes in to limit the spread of infection, the fragility and existing vulnerabilities of our social and political systems are revealed, unsettling and reconfiguring our daily life.
The pandemic has pushed us into a space of dramatic convergence – where a deep tech, hyper-connected future collides with social-political unrest. Our bodies have become sites upon which rapid test kits, mass tracking apps and AI-assisted scanning systems are enacted alongside racial and gender discrimination, economic inequality and rising authoritarianism. These radical and complex transformations to our external environments give rise to renewed shifts in our internal landscapes. It manifests as a re-evaluation of our lived moments, relationships and social contracts established between state and citizens, friends and family, lovers and self. Restrictions on our daily movements and social interactions have challenged us to rethink our assumptions and aspirations of collective humanity and the meaning of community. Confined within our own private spaces, the isolation has induced immense physical and mental fatigue, compelling us to re-examine our tacit understanding and awareness with ourselves and one’s own body.
As we grapple with the uncertainties of the post-pandemic future, this radical moment of instability also calls upon us to reclaim our personal and collective consciousness, to nurture the resilience of our body and soul. How does a body compose itself and develop new vocabularies for articulation? What are the sensorial and corporeal sensibilities of tomorrow?
-Cheong Kah Kit
July 2020, Singapore
A partner programme of
When: 29 Nov 2020,