Natascha Sadr Haghighian | Carbon Theater | Sharjah Biennial 13: Tamawuj
Al Mureijah, Sharjah, Lebanon | 10.3.–22.10.2017
Natascha Sadr Haghighian’s research-based work is concerned with the socio- and geopolitical implications of modes of world-making. Carbon Theater (2016–ongoing) is the artist’s long-term collaboration with writer and artistic researcher Ashkan Sepahvand, whose work traces associations between histories of the body and the sensory as well as imagination, celebration, transformation and futurity. Together, Haghighian and Sepahvand founded the institute for incongruous translation in order to investigate the productive discrepancies between sensing and knowing. Most recently, they have focused on planetary transformations through the study of chemistry.

Act II (2017) of Carbon Theater takes place in an abandoned planetarium scheduled for demolition. The work includes this found site as well as a four-channel sound installation, a wall drawing and a free booklet. Entering the planetarium, visitors are immersed in soundscapes recorded at various sites of energy extraction––from open pit mines and oil refineries to wind farms and ancient watermills. Sensing out the sonic properties and non-visible topographies of each site, these acoustic projections give voice to formations challenging anthropocentric narratives around life and non-life. The question of ‘what formations are we keeping in existence or extinguishing?’ requires attunement to a ‘we’ that is not self-evident. In the booklet, the artists list the recording sites and include texts, photographs and drawings. One drawing has been applied to the back exterior wall of the planetarium. This blurry yellow line cutting horizontally across the dome’s hemicycle mirrors its form, suggesting the suspension of gravity, the disorientation of cardinal direction and displacement of human perspective.