Utama – Every Name In History Is I is a film about the founding of Singapore. In the indigenous Malay tongue, ‘Singa’ means lion, while ‘pore’ is derived from the word ‘pura’, or city. In official accounts of its history, Singapore was founded in 1819 by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, as part of the British colonial empire. However, virtually little is known about the other, pre-colonial founder of Singapore, who is believed to have founded Singapore sometime between the 13th and 14th century. Commonly referred to as Sang Nila Utama, regarded as the ‘first’ king of the Malays and said to be heir to a glorious lineage of great kings and immortals, Utama was said to have given Singapore its name after encountering a lion along its shores. This anecdote has often been questioned because lions are not a species indigenous to this area.
A genre-blending mixture of fiction and documentary, filmic tableaus, philosophical meditation and political allegory, mythical fantasy, costume parade dramatic enactments and film essay, this film sets into motion an inquiry into a subterranean network of issues related to myths, history, origins and power.
Ho Tzu Nyen is a filmmaker and artist born and based in Singapore.
Tzu Nyen works primarily in the audio-visual medium, and his projects traverse the fields of film, visual arts and the performing arts. His videos, paintings, performance-lectures, and theatrical projects have been presented at major art exhibitions, festivals and spaces around
the world, including the Sao Paulo Biennale (2004); Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale (2005); Singapore Biennale (2006); KunstenFestivaldesArts (2006 and 2008); Singapore Arts Festival (2008); as well as at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France; ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany; and the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, UK. His short films have also been shown at international film festivals such as Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival (2008), Oberhausen International Short Film Festival (2007- 2009), Jeonju International Film Festival (2008); as well as Seattle International Film Festival (2008).
Tzu Nyen was one of… read more