(Himali Singh Soin and David Soin Tappeser)
As Grand As What, 2021

Photo: Juan Millás | Courtesy Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza

Three-channel video, installation, color, sound
16 min 50 sec

A Rite of Renewal by Himali Singh Soin and David Soin Tappeser.
Original Score David Soin Tappeser. Poetry Himali Singh Soin. Cinematography Vanessa Mildenberg, Himraj Soin, Giovanni Ambrosio. Dungchen Nam Mkha’i Lha Mo.
Clarinet John MacNaughton. Accordion Mike Guy. Nagada, Gong, Gunghru, Dumru,
Tingsha David Soin Tappeser. Recording Nico Sabatini, Michael Summ [Acoustic
Media]. Mastering Tommie Introna [Black Shuck Co-op]. Herbal Headdress
Joan Harmon. Palm Leaf Masks David Soin Tappeser. Sacred Geometry Tiziana
Mangiaratti. Filmed at Kultura Factory, Domicella; Kumaon Himalayas; Mount
Vesuvius; Castello Aragonese, Ischia
Commissioned by TBA21 Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary and the 13th
Shanghai Biennale. With the additional support of Kulturfactory Residency,
Domicella, Napoli
With gratitude to Alessia Siniscalchi, Kulturscio’k; Lucia Pietroiusti; Francesca
Thyssen-Bornemisza; Soledad Guti.rrez; Pompeii Commitment; Artangel’s Thinking Time

The loss of bla, a term borrowed from Tibetan medicine, but one which echoes the soul– prana or qi, ruh, or mana– across cultures, is expressed both in the weary body and the parched earth. Li then represents an imaginary technology that allows us to access, explore, and celebrate this multitudinal tangle of relationships: inwardly and outwardly, with siblings and strangers, at the atomic, social, planetary, and cosmic level. It allows us to flit between the meridians of the body and the meridians of time, drawing deterritorialized seismic lines from the Himalayan mountains to Vesuvius. Li is a medium through which a community of oppressed, silenced voices, including the voice of the earth itself, might form a commons of otherness.

The music in As Grand As What, written for percussion, accordion, clarinet, and dung-chen, emanates from the connection between magic and religion, “folk” and “classical” culture, periphery and center. The fast-paced 6/8 rhythm makes reference to the southern
Italian Tarantella, a ritual cure to spiders’ bites through hallucinatory dance, while the nine-note scale, alludes to Raag Pahadi, a popular early-evening raga with origins in folk melodies from the
Himalayas. This embodied sound blurs our sense of place, collapsing the distances between the Kumaon and Campania and complicating the power dynamics of north and south, reason and superstition.

As Grand As What is a ritual. Ritual has always been inherent in environmental, social, and political life, a symbolic reenactment of the “super” natural. What can a contemporary ritual be? In the face of extractive modernity, ideas of healing have been co-opted into a cult of narcissistic individualism in lieu of the continuous effort to balance the scales of life. The loss of symbols
means we have been distanced from our capacity to make meaning, the capacity to inhabit a multiverse and a single atom at once. Loss implying not that which has been lost, but an ongoing erasure of the interconnectedness between a here-and-now world, and transnationalist,cosmist place that imagines and desires what the present can be, differently. One that is as grand as.
Himali Singh Soin is a writer and artist based between London and Delhi. She uses metaphors from outer space and the natural environment to construct imaginary cosmologies of interferences, entanglements, deep voids, debris, delays, alienation, distance, and intimacy. In doing this, she thinks through ecological loss and the loss of home, seeking shelter somewhere in the radicality of love. Her speculations are performed in audio-visual, immersive environments. Her almanac ‘we are opposite like that’, comprises missing paraphernalia from polar archives, false philosophies, unreliable observations from the ship, love letters, ekphrastic poems, and made-up maps. It marks the culmination of the eponymous interconnected body of work (since 2017) exploring the uninhabited parts of the Arctic and Antarctic circles, and their uncanny bearing on the rest of the world.


Solo Exhibition: The Third Pole. Himali Singh Soin with music by David Soin Tappeser
Venue: Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza
Curators: Soledad Gutiérrez
October 25,  2022 - January 29, 2023

*1987 in Delhi, India | Living and working in Delhi, India and London, United Kingdom
David Soin Tapeser is a Germany-born, London/New-Delhi-based jazz musician, composer and performance artist. His practice primarily revolves around experimentation and improvisation—more often than not as a means to re-visit/re-invigorate/re-invent established traditions. His studies and extensive travels in India, Nepal, Mexico, and beyond, have brought him into contact with a variety of different musical and percussive traditions, leaving an audible impact on his understanding of the drum set. His particularly subtle, melodic approach to the instrument puts strong emphasis on the aesthetic of tone, sound and dynamics. The theoretical and conceptual backbone of Soin Tappeser’s performative and compositional praxis is audibly shaped by notions of internal pulsation, ideas of phase and fragmentation, as well as thoughts concerning the manipulation of time and time-perception through music. Yet, above all, Soin Tappeser considers music a means of unfiltered, personal expression and play—something mysterious and whimsical.

*1985 in Germany | Living and working in Delhi, India and London, United Kingdom