Naeem Mohaiemen’s “Jole Dobe Na”
              Natasha Marie Llorens
              Naeem Mohaiemen’s new film, which lends its title to this solo exhibition of his work at the Bildmuseet in Umeå, opens with an image of a beautiful young woman. Sufiya, played by Kheya Chattopadhyay, is standing with her eyes closed, her head caught between two old-fashioned surgery lights covered in dust. In Listening to Images (2017), Tina Campt follows Fred Moten in asking “what is the sound that precedes the image?”; the question comes unbidden into my mind as a landline telephone begins to ring softly but insistently off screen, forcing the woman to open her eyes and return to the surface of the world. As the film cuts to a slow panning shot of the crumbling façade of the abandoned Lohia Hospital in Kolkota—formerly a maternity hospital—I wonder what this woman heard in the privacy of her own mind before she faced the ruinous present. According to the exhibition guide, Mohaiemen’s work is “a counter-history of minor events” that destabilize grand historical narratives using imaginative annotation, slow panning shots, and speculative documentary strategies. I think that both the exhibition and the film are more profoundly about the frequency at which loss becomes audible, sensible. For example, the installation of …

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