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Ho Tzu Nyen: The Critical Dictionary of Southeast Asia

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Crow Museum of Asian Art of The University of Texas at Dallas 2010 Flora Street, Dallas, TX 75201

The Critical Dictionary of Southeast Asia (2017-present) by internationally acclaimed artist Ho Tzu Nyen (b. 1976, Singapore) is part of an ongoing project that grows, generates and provides critical insight into the pluralistic definitions of the territories under the term “Southeast Asia.” Born out of recognition for how sweeping the term “Southeast Asia” is, it considers what makes up an area not unified by language, religion or political power.

At the heart of the exhibition will be a moving image installation, in which an algorithm, created by the artist in collaboration with software developer Jan Gerber and media artist Sebastian Lütgert, weaves together a rich tapestry of texts, music, and found footage pertaining to an alphabetized list of concepts, generating different permutations with every loop. This stream of algorithmically-edited images are accompanied by the voiceover of Singaporean musician and vocalist Bani Haykal, who sings a series of notes about Southeast Asia that Ho has accumulated over many years of research. These notes offer sometimes condensed and sometimes rewritten explanations of a number of keywords that Ho sees are of particular significance in the Southeast Asian context – such as anarchism, buffalo, corruption, decay, epidemics, forest, gong, humidity, etc. This same algorithm will also trigger flashes from a screen of LED lights positioned behind the screen, that will occasionally wash out the video imagery. This not only asserts the algorithm’s material presence as a distant controller of content, but is also suggestive of the metaphorical process of desensitization to media and the afterimage of colonialization.

This exhibition will be the US premiere.

Operating hours for the Crow Museum of Asian Art of The University of Texas at Dallas: Tuesdays through Sundays, 11 am - 5 pm.

Persons with disabilities may submit a request for accommodations to participate in this event at UT Dallas' ADA website. You may also call (972) 883-5331 for assistance or send an email to All requests should be received no later than 10 business days prior to the event.

Event Type

Arts & Performances

Target Audience

General Public


Arts & Culture



Free to the public

Crow Museum of Asian Art


Contact Information
Caroline Kim
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