The Critical Dictionary of Southeast Asia (CDOSEA) 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 Were tiger), 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 an whole. With Berlin-based programmers Jan Gerber and Sebastian Lütgert (0x2620), a platform for absorbing and annotating online materials wascreated 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 makes videos, installations and theatrical performances, often working with historical and philosophical texts and artefacts. His work has been presented at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin, 2017); Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (2015); DAAD Gallery (Berlin,2015); Guggenheim Museum (New York, 2013); Mori Art Museum (Tokyo,2012); the 54th Venice Biennale (2011); Artspace, (Sydney, 2011); Tate Modern (London, 2010); the 6th Asia-Pacific Triennial (Brisbane,2009); the 1st Singapore Biennale (2006) and the 26th Sao Paulo Biennale (2004). His feature and medium length films have premiered at Cannes Film Festival (2009) and the 66th Venice International Film Festival (2009). His theatrical works have been presented at the Asian Arts Theatre, Gwangju (2015); Wiener Festwochen (2014); Theater der Welt (2010); the Kunsten-Festival des Arts (2006, 2008). He was born, and lives in Singapore.