Himali Singh Soin's Frieze Artist Award 2019 commission explores urgent questions about environment, history and myth
The 2019 Frieze Artist Award, supported by Forma and Channel 4 Random Acts, focused on the medium of video. Award winner Himali Singh Soin situates us in the Arctic and Antarctic circles. ‘we are opposite like that’ is an ongoing series of interdisciplinary works that comprises fictional mythologies for the poles, told from the non-human perspective of an elder that has witnessed deep time: the ice.
Singh Soin pairs poetry and archival material to recount the Victorian anxiety of an imminent glacial epoch. The disorienting fear of an invasive periphery sent shudders through the colonial enterprise, the tremours 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. Inspired by field recordings, an original score for string quartet creates an etheric soundscape of hissing glaciers and the hard timbre of the wind, interspersed with melodic fragments of Victorian composer, Edward Elgar’s ‘The Snow’. ‘we are opposite like that’ beckons the ghosts hidden in landscapes and turns them into echoes, listening in on the resonances of potential futures.