What would a neurodiversity-led reality look like? My installation and performance at the Attenborough Arts Centre in the exhibition The World is A Work In Progress (curated by Rachel Graves, 25 September 2021 – 16 January 2022) in Leicester, UK proposes that art and neuro-inclusion are key in creating bold visions of how things can be better, and that each of us can play an active part in that process. Encompassing video (including two segments from my BBC Culture In Quarantine commission), digitally-printed vinyls, placards, plastic foliage, performance, print and tapestry in an oversaturated, over the top, tentacular presentation, the piece is a call to action that references more-than-human, non-western philosophy, and draws on Chinese body-mind-place poetics, as performed by an Octopussy who declares:

I have been thinking a lot about the future and about how things could or should be. ‘2050’, which is one generation later, is my shorthand and framework about the urgency of this work. I have been able to try out different iterations and provocations through various commissions during the pandemic, and am thrilled to be able to explore this at Attenborough Art Centre. I‘ve created an OTT sensory-overloadingly-stim-stimming-touchy-feely jungle with the help of my plastic tropical bush, neurons or excitable cells spilling everywhere, and all, vandalising the walls with extra large stickers of my sticky feelers that threaten to spill over. Come join me! Time is running out, so hurry up! Special thanks to Rachel Graves (Curator, pictured above), Jenny O’Sullivan, Dan and Dan for the support.



The gallery shows photographs by Kai, Rachel Graves, Jenny O’Sullivan. It depicts the new in-situ installation, as well as the various additional several online and in-person activities, interventions and outputs held throughout the exhibition, including:

  • Artist’s talk on 16 December 2021 with curator Rachel Graves –> video clip and transcript to follow;
  • Speed-dates in situ with visitors to Attenborough Arts Centre;
  • Speed-dates online with special guests on 11-12 January on Instagram live Professor Stephen V. Faraone (PhD, Distinguished Professor and Vice Chair for ResearchDepartment of Psychiatry, SUNY Upstate Medical University) and Professor Susan Orr (Ed D, HEA PF, NTF, CATE, FRSA Pro Vice Chancellor Learning and Teaching, Professor of Creative Practice Pedagogy, Visiting Professor, Bournemouth University, Editor: Art, Design and Communication in Higher Education) @AttenboroughAC @kaisyngtan –> video clip and transcript to follow;
  • Wishes written on red ribbons by visitors in situ + Padlet created by Rachel Graves with photographs she took;
  • Engagement and discussion followed by public discussion with University and College Union (UCU) Leicester. The gallery shows a flyer created by Khush Khali.

#wearamask = Octopussy’s mandate + SPEED-DATE

Have a Date With Me and Imagine our (Collective) Future Together! You can take part in a speed date with the Octopussy and share your vision of a neurodiversity-led 2050. Too shy? Then be my gooseberry, watch, eavesdrop and ask myself and my date questions, to hold us to account. You will also be tasked with ‘homework’ so as to play an active role in the co-creation of a truly neuro-futuristically-scrumptious 2050. Speed-dates are perfect for the time-poor and the distractable/fidgety/novelty-chasing/risk-desiring/boredom-adverse ADHD person. I have been (speed-) dating since at least 2017. This exhibition includes a film clip of my 2020 speed-date with visionary artist Bob and Roberta Smith, who is also in the exhibition. Extensive fieldwork by this dedicated ‘kaimera’ has also proven that dating apps suck. Thus, here I am. We’re running out of time, so hurry. The format of our romantic date will be as follows:

  1. ARTFULNESS/ NOW: What do you understand by being ‘artful’?
  2. AHA/ PAST: What did you want to be growing up? Or: Was there an ‘aha’ moment when younger that got you to what you are doing now?
  3. AIMS/FUTURE: What is your vision for 2050?
  4. ACTION: How can we help you get there? Please set a task / homework for Octopussy+ Gooseberries (audiences)!
  5. ADVICE/ DO YOU HAVE ANY FINAL MESSAGES, especially if the going gets tough for the next 29 years?
  6. Q&A: open to the floor.


On 9 December, led by artist Ruth Beale, we organised and delivered Crisis in Higher Education: A conversation between artists in The World is a Work in Progress, Leicester UCU branch and other guests‘. Here, myself, Ruth, Vince and Khush chaired a discussion with members of Leicester UCU and other guests to explore the dynamic of the university art gallery, and the role of art in activism and debate, in the contexts of the industrial disputes at Leicester University, and an exhibition which actively engages with visions for the future. The conversation was productive and we are keen to have another discussion to find out ways to work together. The UCU guests were:

  • David Harvie: Former Leicester UCU Communications officer, negotiator and vice-chair; made redundant from University of Leicester as part of Shaping for Excellence.
  • Cara Dobbing: Leicester UCU Communications officer; put at risk of redundancy by University of Leicester as part of Shaping for Excellence, subsequently redeployed.
  • Emma Battell Lowman: A former vice-chair of Leicester UCU, currently a casualised employee of University of Leicester, and a member of UCU’s national executive committee.


I am one of 7 artists in a group show curated by Rachel Graves. We have been in conversation for more than a year. The exhibition ‘invites local communities, contemporary artists and our visitors to come together to share their visions for the future. Encompassing tactile tapestry, spaces for thinking and dreaming, brand new sculpture and protest banners, the exhibition features newly commissioned works, co-produced projects and several significant loans by artists whose work actively engages with the conditions of our time’. The other participating artists are a formidable bunch:

  • Bob & Roberta Smith and Jessica Voorsanger
  • Michael Forbes:
  • Ruth Beale: Artist with an interest in collaborative production; Associate Lecturer for Goldsmiths BA Design; part of London based artist collaboration The Alternative School of Economics
  • Vince Law: Artist, poet, performer, campaigner. Since 2014, Vince has been engaged in an ongoing campaign to highlight the deaths of disabled people dealing with the Department for Work and Pensions
  • Khush Kali: Artist using collage, drawing, textiles, digital media, sculpture, video and text, remixing of patterns, images, rituals and processes to explore identity, cultural heritage, personal history and the everyday experience of the urban environment.

The World is a Work in Progress received 4337 in-person visitors between 25 Sept 2021 – 16 January 2022. The recording of the Instagram live with Professor Stephen Faraone has had 104 views by the end of February 2022, and that with Professor Susan Orr received 144 views in the two days it was posted.