Naeem Mohaiemen

Traitors, a Mutable Lexicon

Installation views, e-flux space, New York: “Corruption; everybody knows,” curated by Natasha Ginwala, November 2015.


Mixed media installation with minitron (with Kaho Abe) | 2015

This project started as an essay published in E-flux Supercommunity within the 2015 Venice Biennale, as billboard and printed booklet. The essay was then transformed into a mixed media installation for “Corruption; everybody knows,” a group show (November 2015) curated by Natasha Ginwala at e-flux space in New York.

Thinking toward spatialization of an essay, the project brings together a paragraph from the“Traitors, a Mutable Lexicon” essay, and its delayed mirror.

The 1980s Bangladeshi TV drama (Humayun Ahmed’s Bohubrihi) debuted a corrosive, denunciatory talking parrot– in the installed version, the parrot scene is presented with subtitles that don’t quite capture the pompous air of the original “Sir” dialogue. On a matching minitron (built with Kaho Abe of NYU Game Innovation Lab), only the reliable “man servant” dialogue is visible, announcing deaths, coaxing patience, and retreating after a scolding. Every hour or so, some of the dialogue comes into sync with the video, but the visualization of the traitor figure remains hazy and combus-tible.



Holland Cotter, “‘Corruption: Everybody Knows …,’ Think Pieces From E-flux,” New York Times, 12/03/2015.
Ming Lin, “Corruption: Everybody Knows …,” ArtReview Asia, vol. 4, no. April 2016.