we are opposite like that, 2018-2019

Photo: Juan Millás | Courtesy Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza

Two-channel video installation, color, sound
12 min 54 sec

Building up non-anthropocentric, post-human ways of storytelling, this series forages for polar mythologies. This video shot during a research residency on Svalbard in the high Arctic circle, captures the attenuation of planetary temporalities, confined geographies and decolonial possibilities through the motions of an alien figure entangled in a shifting landscape of receding glaciers. “we are opposite like that” desires to rearrange the map, and while firmly located in the two polar circles, it proposes a kind of transnationalist world blanketed in lichen and in which north and south are collapsed. Since the poles are used as laboratories for outer space research and have been the site of high frequency UFO sightings, Himali Singh Soin uses sci-fi tropes to propose a south-asian futurism, in which her brown body finds friction and friendship in a white landscape, in which rationalism and the occult make up a multiplicity of disparate narratives, unified by strange teleconnections. The scenes move from a receding glacier to an abandoned township called Ny London, where, in 1912, British extractionists found marble but upon bringing it to the mainland, the permafrost evaporated and the marble turned to dust. 

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 tempo is controlled by her shifting latitudes, the dynamics by the temperature variances between the late nineteenth century and her recent expedition. Melodic fragments of Victorian composer Edward Elgar’s The Snow (1895) encroach upon the image. The string quartet becomes a chamber of resonances, playing the polarity of a potential, post-human future, sounding an un-orientable, topological alarm. 


Group show: Remedios
Venue: C3A Centro de Creación Contemporánea de Andalucía, Córdoba
Curator: Daniela Zyman
Exhibition 14 April 2023 -  March 2024


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
Original score David Soin Tappeser. Science historian Alexis Rider. Animation Tiziana Mangiaratti, Ikroop Sandhu. Krystallos quartet: Cello Zoé Saubat; Viola Francesca Gilbert; First violin Freya Goldmark; Second violin Maria Fiore Mazzarini; Recording and Mixing Nick Powell, Joy Stacey. Field support Iveta Gabaliņa, Devra Freelander

2018: Supported by The Embassy of Switzerland in India and India Foundation for the Arts and curated by Shaunak Mahbubani

2019: Produced for the Frieze Artist Award, in collaboration with Forma and Channel 4 Random Acts. Curated by Diana Campbell Betancourt. 

With deep gratitude to Shaunak Mahbubani and Diana Campbell Betancourt