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elekhlekha อีเหละเขละขละ
A profile photo of Nitcha(left), a Southeast Asian woman wearing a black t-shirt with a white graphic. She has short, straight hair with bangs. Kengchakaj (Keng) (right) is a Southeast Asian man wearing a beige beanie and jacket. They’re standing and typing on their laptops with green graphic projection lights on their faces and backgrounds.

Portrait of Eyebeam Democracy Machine Fellows 2024, Nitcha (Fame) Tothong & Kengchakaj (Keng), of elekhlekha. Photos from Cyberpunk Sundaze with Livecode NYC at Wonderville, Brooklyn, US, by S4y.

Current location
Brooklyn, NY
Year(s) of residency and/or fellowship
2024, Democracy Machine Fellow
Nitcha (Fame) Tothong, Kengchakaj (Keng)

elekhlekha อีเหละเขละขละ is a collaborative research-based group consisting of immigrant Bangkok-born, Brooklyn-based artists, Kengchakaj–เก่งฉกาจ and Nitcha–ณิชชา. The collective delves into subversive storytelling by exploring non-hegemonic sounds and visual archives, historical research–decoding, and unlearning biases. elekhlekha’s work spans performing documents, multimedia, and technology centers to interrogate, experiment, explore, and define decolonized possibilities. 

elekhlekha อีเหละเขละขละ is a Thai word that means dispersedly, chaos, unorganized, all over, and non-direction to break free our practices from being labeled through a Western lens. 

Through their work, the collective aims to investigate and unfold layers of Southeast Asia’s political complexity through the continuity of oral & aural history and sound cultures’ lineage. The juxtaposition of ancestors’ knowledge and new aesthetics as algorithmic compositions reconfigured to a new context builds a new relationship, breaks the social expectation that sound cultures must be traditional, and carries the sounds to evolve and expand in the new context of algorithmic automation, generative, and finds possibilities derailing from consciousness. 

Inspired by their struggle of unlearning and relearning–eliminating bias rendered by imperialism, classism, nationalism, patriarchy, and political layers of our history to reclaim agency, the long-lost innovation, the collective reimagines new processes and modes of expression. They seek out non-binary, non-standard, and unconventional subjectivities –– the broad spectrum that should have always been in the spotlight. Many sound cultures have been constrained, and that suppression makes it hard for minority communities to resound and be heard. elekhlekha’s approach is to look into the past and present, honor non-dominant and suppressed histories, and experiment and search for an alternative future. Decolonization requires hacking the system not made for us but using its tools to tell our story with our own ideas to break through and liberate ourselves from that system. 

elekhlekha’s first collaborative project, Jitr (จิตร), is a speculative imaginary electronics ensemble performative audio-visual using live coding to reconcile the lost connection of Southeast Asia’s shared heritage. The visual is performing documents of crucial Thai writer Jitr Poumisak, who was seen as a threat and killed in the 1960s. The project also challenges the music technology rooted in the hegemony and dominance of Western sound. The sounds use computer programming to generate decolonized Southeast Asia sound culture. It premiered at Wonderville NYC and, in 2022, was awarded The Lumen Prize Gold Award.

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