The artist brings together childhood memories, historical records and fantasy as she explores environmental disruption from the highest peaks of the world, the Himalayas.
29th March 2021, LONDON - WePresent, the editorial platform of WeTransfer, unveils a multidisciplinary digital artwork by writer and artist Himali Singh Soin. Titled static range, Singh Soin transports viewers to India’s towering Himalayan peaks to examine humanity’s control on the world, through the lens of colonialism. It forms the third instalment of Groundwork: a creative series by WePresent that documents the behind-the-scenes research into artists’ new works for Back to Earth, Serpentine’s multi-year environmental programme.
Available on WePresent, static range marks Singh Soin’s artistic homecoming as she returns to her childhood home in India to explore an abandoned nuclear surveillance device installed in the Himalayan region in 1965 that remains unfound. Inspired by a real-life spy story, Singh Soin combines a historial Indian postal stamp, photographed by her mountaineer father in 1987, handwritten letters, spoken word and an immersive soundscape, alongside her awakenings to colonial powers realised as an adult. static range interweaves real and imagined scenarios to magnify the invasive and irreversible impact of nuclear radiation, encapsulated in a 15-minute animation of the stamp’s disintegration as it blurs with exposure.
static range continues WePresent and Serpentine’s collaborative online Groundwork series, with a visual depiction of the cross-continental effects of environmental disruption and the imprint this leaves behind on lived experiences. As part of the series, WePresent invites the public to donate to a charity chosen by the featured artist, with WeTransfer doubling these donations up to 30,000€ to all charities involved. Singh Soin has chosen Live to Love: a non-profit, grassroots organisation that empowers communities to serve as guardians of the Himalayas and its people.
Donations can be made via the WePresent feature and a dedicated wallpaper on the WeTransfer site. This philanthropic initiative continues WeTransfer’s commitment to cultivating the artistic community while also supporting global climate justice. Every year, WeTransfer donates up to 30% of advertising real estate to raise awareness for artists, creative work and the world’s most pressing issues, announced its prestigious B Corporation certification in 2020, and became a Climate Neutral Certified service in 2021.
Holly Fraser, Editor in Chief of WePresent said: “Himali Singh Soin’s Groundwork piece is at once poetic and fascinating, exploring disruption to the environment from a majestic emblem of the natural world - the Himalayas. WePresent scours the globe for unexpected stories about creativity and Himali’s artistic voyage to India via a real-life spy story, childhood memories and artistic imagination via our platform is testament to how creative expression can inspire action towards the climate crisis”.
Himali Singh Soin, writer and artist said: “I share time between London, Delhi and my childhood home in the Himalayas, from where we can glimpse Nanda Devi on a clear morning. I've grown up listening to stories from these parts, a herb, a bird, an avalanche. The historical story of the nuclear-powered spy device was eerie, but I was convinced that I had to be the one to tell it because of the incredible source material at hand via my proximity to my father's expedition. It is my hope that this iteration of static range on WePresent will allow us to think outside our anthropocentric trappings and envision a tender and transnational future, following a year during which toxicity and healing have been at the forefront of our concerns.”
Bettina Korek, Chief Executive, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Serpentine said: “We are so pleased to be able to work with WePresent to spotlight Himali Singh Soin’s captivating project. static range is both a tender and personal story and communicates a global message of healing and growth.”
Each month, Groundwork reveals a digital mini-encyclopaedia documenting the creative journeys of five artists involved in the Serpentine’s multi-year Back to Earth project, including Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen, Vivienne Westwood, Karrabing Film Collective, Himali Singh Soin and Tabita Rezaire. WePresent and the Serpentine join forces to shine light on the rich contributions art can make to tackle the climate crisis, while encouraging observers to reflect and consider action.
static range by Himali Singh Soin for Groundwork, presented by WePresent in collaboration with the Serpentine is live on WePresent here.
Image sheet available here, created via Paste by WeTransfer.
Images available for download here.
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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 and entanglements, 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, marking the culmination of the eponymous interconnected body of work exploring the uninhabited parts of the poles and their uncanny bearing on the rest of the world. Her current body of work is located in the Himalayas.
Live to Love is a secular non-profit serving the people and resources of the Himalayas. It is a grassroots movement that empowers communities to serve as guardians of the Himalayas and its people.The goal is to create sustainable solutions for the future of each region, and foster a culture of empowerment and of resiliency. With modern challenges such as environmental degradation, educational inequities, and border disputes, there has never been a more crucial time for local cultural identities to flourish and take part in the larger global dialogue.