Somerset House Studios is a new experimental workspace in the centre of London connecting artists, makers and thinkers with audiences. The Studios are a platform for the development of new creative projects and collaboration, promoting work that pushes bold ideas, engages with urgent issues and pioneers new technologies.
Vicki Bennett: Opening Doors
Vicki Bennett explores the processes of making audiovisual content, working with archives and found footage.
Using collage as a compositional tool opens up endless opportunities to create and experience results that are more than the sum of their parts, opening doors (and windows) to let light in and move beyond limited and repetitive ways of creative thinking.
In this Somerset House Studios podcast, we revisit Vicki Bennett’s talk as part of The Wire magazine’s Music By Any Means series, which was part of Grounding Practice, a rolling programme shaped by and for creative practitioners and critical thinkers.
About Vicky Bennett
Under the name People Like Us, Vicki Bennett has been making work available via CD, DVD and vinyl releases, radio broadcasts, concert appearances, gallery exhibits and online streaming and distribution since 1992.
Bennett has developed an immediately recognisable aesthetic repurposing pre-existing footage to craft audio and video collages with an equally dark and witty take on popular culture. She sees sampling and collage as folk art sourced from the palette of contemporary media and technology, with all of the sharing and cross-referencing incumbent to a populist form.
Embedded in her work is the premise that all is interconnected and that claiming ownership of an ‘original’ or isolated concept is both preposterous and redundant. Most of the People Like Us back catalogue has been available for free online since 2002. For many artists, profit and publicity is more likely through free distribution (the gift economy) than independent publishers and distributors, which often struggle with limited resources. Online self-distribution allows an artist to keep their work available, resolving a tension between label production costs and the desire of an artist for work to be available.
Part of The Wire: Music By Any Means.
Grounding Practice / Somerset House Studios
Audio produced by Weyland Mckenzie-Witter as part of The Creator in Residence Programme at Somerset House, supported by The Rothschild Foundation.
Joe Namy: Sound Clash from the Eighth Automobile LDN | Gallery 31: Temporary Compositions
Studios resident Joe Namy presents sound work Sound Clash from the Eighth Automobile LDN as part of Somerset House Studios' new Gallery 31 exhibition Temporary Compositions, available to listen to online for the duration of the show.
Comprising of audio documentation from Namy’s ongoing performance piece Automobile (2012-2021) for cars with souped up sound systems - so far performed over eight iterations in Beirut (2012 and 2013), Mannheim (2014), Gwangju (2016), Montreal (2016), Toronto (2017), Abu Dhabi (2019), and London (2019) - the sound piece was recorded during the Eighth Automobile in 2019 as part of Art Night, on top of a Sainsbury's car park and later in the basement of the Mall car park in Walthamstow.
Exhibition visitors are encouraged to listen to Namy's sound work within the gallery space as an accompaniment to Bass Stance (Automobile), a printed voile curtain installation piece included as part of the Temporary Compositions show.
Recorded by Joe Namy and Reduced Listening with help from Holly Shuttleworth.
Including interviews with (by order of appearance):
Too Sweet Vibes Machine
Ramone Roper aka Brown Van International
Tas aka Yellow Bird Sound
CJ Potter and CJ’s dad Chris Potter
Noel aka Put Put
Kerry Sinclair aka Nuclear Sound
Phil Macey aka Team Ice
Alexandro Santos Escobar aka Like a Boss Sound
Curated by Stella Sideli, Temporary Compositions explores the interrelationship between people, sounds and signals and the rhythms and patterns that form within them, reflecting on different approaches to being and being together. What new meanings and modalities can be created within communal settings, through collective experiences and collaborative processes?
Featuring video, sound, sculptural and textile works by Abbas Zahedi, Phoebe Davies, Joe Namy and Sonya Dyer, each work in the show sees a coming together of individuals, organically or involuntarily, sparking and creating momentary connections, movements and cultures.
Gallery 31 is an exhibition space dedicated to the work of Somerset House Studios and its residency programmes. The gallery is open all year round, hosting up to four exhibitions per year in collaboration with guest curators.
Ilona Sagar: Soft Addictions | Gallery 31: Create, Capture, Organise, Pluralise
As part of Ilona Sagar's Soft Addictions works for Gallery 31's third season Create, Capture, Organise, Pluralise, visitors are encouraged to listen to Sagar's looped sound work within the gallery space as an accompaniment to her print and text pieces.
Soft Addictions is a generative series of works that analyze the interface between people and computers and the science of responsive design through sound, digital imagery, performance and text. Using gesture and inference the work abstracts the alternating lines between function and dysfunction as a bodily state, playing with the paradigms of power between technology and the body. Voice and sound acts as both a dislocation and a connecting element within the series, working with the scales of speech, from the bureaucratic and instructional to the emotionally intimate and physical. Device culture has now made the human body evermore remote and co-dependent on technology. Pioneering advances in user-driven technologies threaten to shift our social interactions from one of collective interests to networks of individual desires. Ergonomic syntax, both scientific and fleshy, fuels Soft Addictions with its idiosyncratic logic and vivid output.
Mix: Doug Haywood
Male voice: Shaun French
Female voice: Penelope McGhie
Curated by Stella Sideli and featuring work by Josiane M.H. Pozi, Majed Aslam, Ilona Sagar and Col Self with Farvash and vvxxii (Sp0re), Create, Capture, Organise, Pluralise explores the notion of the body as an archive; as a record of collective stories, experiences, and memories. The exhibition runs 1 Jul - 31 Oct 2021.
Gallery 31 is a permanent exhibition space dedicated to profiling the Somerset House Studios community and work developed through our residencies. With a rolling programme and a different theme each season, Gallery 31 presents a curated selection of new commissions alongside existing and in-progress works.
Shenece Oretha: Listening Wholes | Hyper Functional, Ultra Healthy
Shenece Oretha takes an experimental approach to the podcast format for Somerset House Studios’ Hyper Functional, Ultra Healthy series.
The multidisciplinary artist choreographs a DJ lecture mix that explores the theme of the body, using sonic forms that range from instruments and speech, to musicians, conductors, and listeners.
Oretha journeys through improvisational musical practices, audience culture, Black literature and emotional responses, layering music, speech and sound.
Listen as Oretha composes this sonic terrain, and bear witness to sound’s ability to move us emotionally, physically and socially, connecting us even when we are apart.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Shenece Oretha is a London based artist who interrogates the emotional, physical and relational sonic material of Blackness. In sharp contrast to the stark technological hardware often present in her installations, her work builds on the mobilising effects of Black oral traditions, celebrating the exchange and participation of intimate action, testimonials and emotional responses to generate expressions of collective imagination.
She has exhibited and performed her work both nationally and internationally. Recently her work ‘ Called to Respond’ was shown at Cell project space in 2020. Her first solo exhibition, TESTING GROUNDS, curated by Taylor Le Melle, was presented with Not/Nowhere at Cafe Oto, London (2019). Group exhibitions include 'Cinders, Sinuous and Supple', curated by Deborah Joyce Holman, Lausanne Les Urbaines, Switzerland (2019); 'PRAISE N PAY IT/ PULL UP, COME INTO THE RISE', South London Gallery, London; and 'BBZBLKBK: Alternative Grad Show', Copeland (both 2018). Presentations of performance work include 'Towards a black testimony', Stroom Den Haag curated by Languid Hands (2019); Wysing Polyphonic Festival, Wysing Art Centre, Cambridge (2018);'Congregation', ICA, London, (2017).
Timur Si-Qin | Hyper Functional, Ultra Healthy
A new artist-led podcast from Timur Si-Qin exploring how our health is intimately tied to the health of the natural world, as part of Hyper Functional, Ultra Healthy.
Drawing from religious history, contrasting western and Indigenous cultural relationships with nature, and the desired shift towards a spirituality of symbiosis, artist Timur Si-Qin unpacks the ideas at the centre of his upcoming essay Heaven Is Sick as well as New Peace - Si-Qin’s artwork, brand and ‘protocol’ developed in the wake of climate change.
Hyper Functional, Ultra Healthy is a dynamic programme of new commissions, films, workshops, and conversations considering both our individual health and collective wellbeing by exploring societal and ecological issues that affect both people and planet.
About the artist
Artist Timur Si-Qin’s interests in contemporary philosophy, the evolution of culture, and the dynamics of cognition take form in branded ecosystems and installations of 3D printed sculptures, light-boxes, and VR.
Si-Qin’s works seek to think beyond the anthropocentric dualisms at the centre of western consciousness. Si-Qin’s long term project is the proposal of a new secular faith in the face of climate change called New Peace. Drawing from disparate disciplines like the Anthropology of Religion, Marketing Psychology, and Object Oriented Ontology, Si-Qin understands spiritualities as cultural softwares capable of deep behavioral and political intervention. New Peace is thus a new protocol for the necessary renegotiation of our conceptual and spiritual relationship with the non-human. New Peace is an artwork, a brand, a sect, and self propagating memetic machine.
Hyper Functional, Ultra Healthy is kindly supported by the Adonyeva Foundation.
Oliver Barrett - Solo Cello (Live at Cafe OTO)
Anthony Pateras & Vilerio Tricoli - Solo (Revox)
A Paranoid Android - Walking Blind in New York
Mystified - Mystic Steam
KM Krebs - Etorpasle
Eli Keszler - Solo - Live at Cafe OTO (Sat 25 May 2013)
Defrag - Technology in Culture and Society
Defrag was a series of talks curated by Jake Charles Rees for Somerset House Studios between 2017-2019, exploring how technology is changing the world we live in, including the way we produce and consume art and culture.
This podcast revisits the live recordings in the form of an audio montage, meshing together a range of fragmented thoughts from guest speakers. It delves into the practices of the people using and critiquing some of the latest technologies and how these shape and augment our realities.
Silkie Carlo, Big Brother Watch
Elliot Burns, Offsite Project
Raffaella Moreira, Multimedia Anthropology Lab
Sophie Dyer of Airwars
Hanna Rullman of Airwars
Milena Marin, Amnesty International
Gabriela Ivens of WITNESS
James Stringer, Werkflow
The White Pube
Charlotte Webb, Feminist Internet
Helen Brewer, Feminist Internet
Clara Finnigan, Feminist Internet
Rhiannon Williams, Feminist Internet
Commissioned and produced by Somerset House Studios
Curated by Jake Charles Rees
Podcast produced by Huw Thomas
Sound design by Harry Murdoch and Huw Thomas