To Tehran in My Dreams is a documentation of the artist’s performance work of the same title, which traces the historical development of long-distance communications. The work poetically follows the story of a man, W.J. Elms, an employee of the Eastern and Associated Telegraph Companies, who worked in rural Cornwall from 1891 until 1933. The story parallels the global lockdown many of us have experienced during the Covid pandemic. Isolated by geography, Elms and his colleagues had to find ways to entertain themselves in rural Cornwall, to reach beyond their seclusion and isolation.
For Elms, this came in the form of gossip spoken in whispers, and letters sent home via the telegraphic wire, prompting the very same sense of to and fro that we encounter online today.
Through digressions – such as the error of a single punctuation mark – the work’s emotive narrative unfolds the idea that language works like electricity, connecting sender and receiver, and that love is a glitch that can disrupt the linear logics of time and capital.
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Working as an artist and writer, Himali often harnesses the power of words in her practice. Responding to the current lockdown, we have selected three quotations from the script of To Tehran in my Dreams, which highlight the discussion of how we maintain relationships when set at a distance from one another.
Click here to download the script excerpts of To Tehran in my Dreams (in a pdf).
To Tehran in my Dreams by Himali Singh Soin (2020) is exhibited as part of Platform Asia’s Sudden Beams – Homing In programme. Supported by Arts Council England.
Find out more about the Sudden Beams programme here.
About the artist
Writer and artist Himali Singh Soin works with language, performance, sound and film. Based between London and Delhi, Singh Soin’s poetic storytelling often begins with sublime and unfathomable forces, yet grounds us in the political realities of the now. From mountains to glaciers, telecommunications to celestial powers, we come to reflect on borders and imperialism, justice and survival.
Himali Singh Soin’s recent and upcoming group shows include Serpentine Park Nights, Somerset House and Mimosa House, London; Migros Museum, Zurich; Yarat Contemporary, Baku; Gropius Bau, Berlin and Dhaka Art Summit among others. Her art writing appears regularly in Artforum, among others. She is the recipient of the 2019 Frieze Artist Award for we are opposite like that, a short film on the Victorian fear of glaciation and her eponymous book on the poles and their uncanny bearing on the rest of the world is forthcoming post-lockdown.