Himali Singh Soin

Still from we are opposite like that, 2017-ongoing, Himali Singh Soin

Indian artist Himali Singh Soin journeyed to Svalbard, an archipelago uninhabited by indigenous human life in the high Arctic circle. In her search for the myths and legends of the landscape, she realised that they were stored in the archive of a non-human elder that has witnessed deep time and whose language will soon be lost: the ice.

This title film reminisces on the western imagination of the polar circles, viewed as a faraway savage. Pairing poetry and archival material, the video recounts the tale of the omnipresent anxiety in Victorian England of an imminent glacial epoch. The disorienting fear of an invasive periphery sent shudders through the colonial enterprise, the tremors of which can be felt in contemporary times. Here, an alien figure traverses the blank, oblivious whiteness, and undergoes an Ovidian transformation into glimmering ice. This imagery floats above an endangered, soon to be mythical, soundscape: Inspired by field recordings, an original score for string quartet makes audible the sheets of Pancake Ice smashing into each other, the long drone of a boat, the hard timbre of the wind. The string quartet becomes a chamber of resonances, playing the polarity of a potential, post-human future, sounding an un-orientable, topological alarm.

 

Himali Singh Soin is a multidisciplinary artist based between London and Delhi.

 

String quartet: David Soin Tappeser
Science historian: Alexis Rider