IMMUNE/ÓNÆM is a collaborative artistic research project exploring microspheres modes of existences via cross-border alliances by using the Nordic region and its ecosystem to learn ways of sensing. The project presents the urgency of re-learning to be sensitive, putting sensibility above the computational skill/habit of seeing Nature as a means to an end.
During her research in Iceland Sheida, familiarized herself with the fossil fuel peat, mentioned as a fuel source in Travels in Iceland. Peat has been called the forgotten fossil fuel, partially decomposed plant material, essentially coal in the making. Other sources of natural energy where as well investigated and sensed by Sheida during her research p
Sheida Soleimani’s practice refuses the history of photography as an unethical medium for amplifying the enlightenment gaze—especially in its chauvinistic, ethnographic, biopolitical, and colonial variations. This array of visual modalities supports western state power by depicting ethnic and racialized population as less human, less rational, and confined to bodily necessities; making these a priori assumptions appear as if they are founded on objective knowledge of the world; and weaponizing these representations to justify why these populations and their lands “need” to be under western control. For her contribution to IMMUNE, Soleimani critically intervenes in this ongoing history of dispossession by interrogating three centuries of fuel consumption in Iceland. Her photographs reveal how the Danish colonial text, Travels in Iceland, is riven by an economic interest in devising new fuel sources and an ethnographic fascination with the dehumanizing effects of vernacular sources that arose in an already deforested Iceland. In her own travels, Soleimani learned how to harvest peat from a peat grave, examined old and new alternative fuel sources like bird burning, mixing seaweed with fish, and deriving fuel from lupine, and traversed the Kárahnjúkar hydroelectric dam, the main source of Iceland’s “green” energy, as well as the driver of an ongoing ecocatastrophe for the plants and animals that once inhabited this area, which was formerly the second largest unspoiled wilderness in Europe.
Immune Project: Sheida Soleimani
March 10 – May 1, 2022
Living Art Museum
Living Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland