CDOSEA (The Critical Dictionary of Southeast Asia)
Ho Tzu Nyen (Singapore)
Video installation (single-channel HD video, algorithmic editing system, 5-channel sound)
Infinite loop
2017 till present

“CDOSEA (The Critical Dictionary of Southeast Asia)” begins with a question: What constitutes the unity of Southeast Asia – a region never unified by language, religion or political power? CDOSEA proceeds by proposing 26 terms – one for each letter of the English alphabet. Each term is a concept, a motif, or a biography, and together they are threads weaving together a torn and tattered tapestry of Southeast Asia. The Dictionary has, since its inception in 2012, generated a number of filmic, theatrical and installation works by Ho Tzu Nyen. From “T (for Tiger)” and “W (for Weretiger)” emerged “Ten Thousand Tigers” (2014), “2 or 3 Tigers” (2015), “Timelines” (2017), and “One or Several Tigers” (2017). “The Nameless” and “The Name” (both 2015) came out of “L (for Lai Teck)” and “G (for Gene Z. Hanrahan)” respectively.

Since 2016, Ho Tzu Nyen has been working with a group of collaborators to “manifest” the Dictionary as a whole. With Berlin-based programmers Jan Gerber and Sebastian Lütgert (0x2620), a platform for absorbing and annotating online materials was created to “feed” an Editing System that endlessly composes new combinations of audio-visual materials according to the 26 terms of the Dictionary.

Ho Tzu Nyen

Ho Tzu Nyen was born in 1976 in Singapore, where he currently lives and works.

Steeped in numerous Eastern and Western cultural references, ranging from art history to theatre, and from cinema to music to philosophy, Ho Tzu Nyen’s works blend mythical narratives and historical facts to mobilize different understandings of history, its writing and its transmission. The central theme of his oeuvre is a long- term investigation of the plurality of cultural identities in Southeast Asia, a region so multifaceted in terms of its languages, religions, cultures and influences that it is impossible to reduce it to a simple geographical area or some fundamental historical base. This observation as to the history of this region of the world is reflected in his pieces which weave together different regimes of knowledge, narratives and representations. From documentary research to fantasy, his work combines archival images, animation and film in installations that are often immersive and theatrical.

Solo exhibitions have been held at the Hammer Museum (2022), Toyota Municipal Museum of Art (2021), Crow Museum of Asian Arts (2021), Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM] (2021), Edith-Russ Haus for Media Art (Oldenburg, 2019), Kunstverein in Hamburg (2018), Ming Contemporary Art Museum [McaM] (Shanghai, 2018), Asia Art Archive (2017), Guggenheim Bilbao (2015), Mori Art Museum (2012), The Substation (Singapore, 2003). He represented the Singapore Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale (2011).

location: Macao Museum of Art
28/07/2023 - 29/10/2023