Online images are everywhere in today’s life. Singaporean artist Ho Tzu Nyen’s artwork, The Critical Dictionary of Southeast Asia, is a real-time video work generated through algorithm. Based on the 26 concepts generated from the artist’s own experience toward the region of the Southeast Asia, the artwork is edited and composed with narratives of different characters, concepts, and genres as well as various online images. The video is edited and generated in real-time in each screening and exhibition. According to the artist, it allows him to experience the part of the ocean of images that keeps renovates itself. The video work is available online as well: https://cdosea.org
The so-called Southeast Asia borders the Eastern Himalayas in the north with islands emerging due to terrain ruptures, extending southward until the vast circular islands of Sumatra and Java. The region made of various islands has never dominated by one single language, regime, tradition, or power of religion. The Critical Dictionary of Southeast Asia begins with a simple question: “what constitutes the unity of this region?” The work invited the intellectuals and artists in Southeast Asia or studying Southeast Asia to dive into a series of issues. The project not only transcends the borderlines of states, but traverses in between different disciplines. The concordant song of Southeast Asia played together embodies not reason, but resonance.