Changing identity, roots, plurality, fluidity: The film and video installations of Singaporean artists | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 2, Issue 2-3
  • ISSN: 2051-7041
  • E-ISSN: 2051-705X



Drawing upon the film and video installations of Singaporean artists Ho Tzu Nyen and Ming Wong, this article aims to make a critical enquiry into methodological and theoretical intersections between film and fine art. Drawing from the cultural particularities of Singapore, there are dimensions in these artists’ works that are relevant for the discussion of an imaginative identification with local histories. Contested issues relating to representation, identity, roots, performativity and history are engaged and negotiated in their works. Ho and Wong foreground the significance of the Malay heritage in the Singaporean identity, notwithstanding being Chinese. The artists are careful to underline the notion that identities are constructed and fluid, and their works reveal a resistance against a singular, constructed definition or an essentialist interpretation of the Singapore national identity, in favour of one that is able to reflect pluralities of diverse societies and the multiplicity of culture. The endeavours to devise alternative modes of exhibition in the art gallery are directed in part at transforming the exhibition environment and how viewers relate to the artwork. In their moving image installations, Ho Tzu Nyen and Ming Wong have developed various visual strategies that explore the dynamic relation between filmic space and time. Proposing a more fluid approach in the understanding of spectatorial positions, both artists have produced a visual and experiential language that enable the audience to develop a new consciousness about their environment and themselves. By engaging the aural-visual, conceptual and physical aspects of the artists’ works, the analysis of the moving image as a series of assertions made within the fields of contemporary art and film seeks to explore new possibilities about what is meant by the ‘cinematic’ in Singapore.


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