Sound work, 18 mins and video, 3 mins. 2022
Through her performance, sound, film, and written works, Himali Singh Soin invites us to view the world through her poetic lens, drawing entangled relationships between phenomena that refuse linear narration.
Soin invites listeners to download her new sound work (below), to listen while in travel. Transit tells the story of a journey across Siberia, from Moscow to Irkutsk. As Soin’s words transport us over the vast and diverse terrain, they also seep into the imbued time at each location. Fragmentary stories reveal themselves momentarily, and divergent subject matters evoke the plurality of the landscapes through which she travels. As with the glacial movement of ice across landscapes, her words collect and accumulate matter as they travel.
Each locality is entangled in its own specificity and the stories of the travellers who pass through them: waters, matter, particles, and thoughts freeze, thaw, and emerge in different states. Einstein’s theory of relativity tells us that time only exists in relationship; yet here times and places drift without direct ties, woven together with the force of imagination. Within societally-delineated time, her journey must have passed through seven time zones; yet here time and space become untethered to assumed certainties, connected instead only to one another in a floating web of interconnected memories and stories of subconscious or unconscious desires resurfacing as the permafrost evaporates.
The characters are P, Q, and R, the coordinates of any philosophical proposition. They are filled with want as their journey acts as a pilgrimage to Lake Baikal, a cosmos in itself, surrounded by discontinuous permafrost and animated through hundreds of rivers flowing into it. It is the oldest lake in the world and the deepest, yet despite its seeming permanence, its landscape is one of dramatic annual change. As with the landscape that she narrates, Transit makes new work (and worlds) out of old: remembering, re-enlivening, revisiting. From a diary entry into an aural retelling, the work itself continues on a journey of shifting forms and transformations.
A companion moving image work, views the horizon of Lake Baikal through the empty shell of some leftover Soviet construction. The sky changes as the telescope at the bottom of the lake catches stars and becomes a portal into the universe’s black holes, where information goes to rest. The window becomes a portal into the mind – its vast expanse, the parts unknown, the parts untouched but nevertheless imprinted. Like when the permafrost evaporates, the view brings up traumas from the depths of the land, and the movement allows for openings into fresh futures. Human colonisation and the natural world become inseparable here, as does the material world and the horizons of thought.
Himali Singh Soin
Himali Singh Soin is an artist based between London and New Delhi. Her multi-disciplinary work uses metaphors from the natural environment to construct speculative cosmologies that reveal non-linear entanglements between human and non-human life. Her poetic methodology explores the myriad technologies of knowing, from scientific to intuitional, indigenous, and alchemical processes.