Himali Singh Soin: Static Range

Location: Chicago
Client: Art Institute of Chicago
Scope: Exhibition Design
Progress/Year: Complete, 2022

This project is the exhibition design for the first solo exhibition in the United States of artist and writer Himali Singh Soin. Static Range is an ongoing project that explores the intertwined histories and futures of nuclear landscapes, conflating public and personal histories. Curated by Irene Sunwoo, the exhibition “situates Nanda Devi within a global entanglement of nuclear sites-from the Lake District in England to Fukushima in Japan to Chernobyl in Ukraine-haunted by Chicago’s own history as a pivotal research site for the Manhattan Project” (Art Institute of Chicago).

Working with the artist, Future Firm’s exhibition design creates an immersive environment. Layering “curved strata” of woven curtains, contoured carpets, interspersed with podiums and hanging objects; the gallery is awash with elemental hues. The primary design elements include suspended woven curtains created in collaboration with local organization The Weaving Mill, made of extra fibers from previous projects and woven together with a “static” effect, inspired by the shared histories of computer coding and loom punch cards. The podium design was inspired by the graphite blocks in Chicago Pile-1, and the carpets mimic the topography of the Nanda Devi region. Custom suspended mounts for framed art works allow for moments of visual overlap and translucency.