Somerset House – the home of London's largest and most exciting creative community – has recently launched its digital platform Channel, allowing it to commission new cross-disciplinary works and unpack the creative processes behind them.
Launched with a commission by Turner-Prize-nominated multimedia artist Sin Wai Kin, Channel will draw on Somerset House's unique resident community to present a rolling programme of exclusive works, including documentaries, films, podcasts, talks, interactive works and editorial content.
Choosing to lead with Sin Wai Kin's commission gives visitors a fitting idea of what to expect from Channel. Famous for using drag to bring fantasy to life and challenge identity and objectification, Sin's commission, The Story Cycle, follows two clowns searching for their place in the world.
Shot entirely in Somerset House, The Story Cycle uses the building itself as a metaphor for the body, where cycles of listening, embodying and telling stories help construct our idea of human nature. And considering that Chanel will be a destination where creatives and the curious come to marvel at art and take a peek behind the curtain, this barnstorming debut nicely encapsulates the platform's essence.
Further commissions are due to follow later this year. They will appear alongside other fresh content, which will regularly be added to Channel across its Podcast, Spatial Sound, Talks, Documentary and Editorial categories.
The online programme currently also includes the film series Artists in Focus. This section, produced by in-house filmmakers, allows virtual visitors to look at the world through the lens of an artist. Its goal is to demystify the journey of the creative practice by following it from an initial idea to its final form.
"The initial set of films focuses on the creative practice of Somerset House Studios residents Rene Matić, Saul Nash, Agnes Cameron and Sam Williams," says Somerset House.
"Other exclusive documentaries available today include Latent Joy, which follows the recent experimental ensemble performance developed by residents Vivienne Griffin and Paul Purgas at St Mary Le Strand and after the success of Gareth Pugh's and Carson McColl's This Bright Land festival, Channel will offer an account on the chosen family."
Meanwhile, the podcast section is being spearheaded by the Echoic Archive series by the producer in residence, Weyland McKenzie. "The series raises questions about the artist's role in archiving with the episodes' themes traversing African filmmakers, creative coding, mythology and climate change."
Channel will also be the home to the six-part podcast series The Process, produced by Alannah Chance. Taking its listeners being the scenes with Gary Zhexi Zhang, Anna Meredith, Tyreis Holder and many more, it promises to reveal unique insights into how they create new works.
And speaking of audio delights, viewers will be able to explore the spatial sound works by Zadie Xa, Kelman Duran, Loraine James, Lafawndah and Ben Vince from Assembly 2020.
"In addition, Decentralise will be available to explore and engage with objects from, and inspired by, Somerset House's exhibition past, spanning Afro-nowism, Afrofuturism, political arts and disobedient objects, through design, interaction and play."
A talk series kicked moderated by curator Pelumi Odubanjo will also provide valuable insight into the creative methods of artists such as Ellen Sampson, Ekta Kaul, Sin Wai Kin and Róisín Tappon. And in the editorial section, Channel will give curators, writers and artists a rare platform to offer their own insight into their commissions.
Fittingly, the first piece published in this section is a creative reflection on Sin Wai Kin's practice in the form of an open letter to the artist by interdisciplinary writer, editor and curator Imani Mason Jordan.
Somerset House adds that by being home to over 200 artists and cultural innovators, it is perfectly placed to connect creativity and the arts with wider society to produce unexpected outcomes. All whilst "intensifying creativity and multiplying opportunity to drive artistic and social innovation."
It adds: "Channel's content has been created with accessibility in mind and will provide alternative ways of presenting information such as subtitles and transcripts."
Want to get a taste of what Channel offers? Visit channel.somersethouse.org.uk.