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Decentralise


11 Mar 2021

Somerset House’s Future Producers collective presents Decentralise, a new interactive digital platform exploring the history of Black British art at Somerset House.

Decentralise invites you to engage virtually with over 16 key objects from, and inspired by, Somerset House’s exhibition past, spanning Afro-nowism, Afrofuturism, political arts and disobedient objects, through design, interaction and play.  

The project delves into Somerset House’s exhibition archive, from Get Up, Stand Up Now (2019) and Return of the Rudeboy (2014) to 2026: Utopian Voices Here & Now (2016), to host illustrated objects inspired by some of today’s pioneering contemporary Black artists and creators including GAIKARichard Rawlins and Althea McNish.

Using these objects as materials, you are able to build your own artistic creations and contribute to the Decentralise archive, exploring how themes from the exhibition archive relate to the personal and collective experiences of what it means to be Black and British.

How to use Decentralise

  1. Firstly, don’t miss the music, commissioned by the Future Producers and created by music producer Wu-Lu, which provides the perfect backdrop to create your own work on the platform. Click the musical note button in the top right to activate. You can click this again if you need to switch the music off. 
  2. Hit the START button, centre and bottom of your browser to open your canvas.
     
  3. Next to the music button in the top right you’ll see a question mark in a yellow circle. This is the information tab, where you can learn more about the platform. 
     
  4. Each yellow shape with text in it tells you what the image/buttons below do.
     
  5. You can change which category of art movement you work from in the categories section in the bottom right. Each category has its own set of ‘brushes’ or images for you to work with.
     
  6. Select which brush you would like to work with in the Inventory section.
     
  7. When selecting your chosen image it will open a dialogue box that tells you about the work and its inspiration. Here you can explore how these works link to Black culture and where they were presented in exhibitions at Somerset House in the past.
     
  8. Click ‘Use object’ and begin to apply your chosen brush to the grid space in the middle and start getting creative! You can use the brushes interchangeably. 
     
  9. Use the ‘Undo’ or ‘Refresh’ buttons if you’re not happy with your design.
     
  10. To develop your creation further explore the ‘Scene’ button (a CD emoji) to browse the custom backgrounds and add to your design. 
     
  11. You can save your image by hitting ‘Save’ (the folder emoji). Saving means your creation is downloaded to your device and added to our Gallery.
     
  12. Share your work on social media, using #DecentraliseSH 
     
  13. You can also go to the Gallery and see other designs. Just click on the raised fist emoji to open.

This project forms part of Somerset House’s recent Anti-racism Pledge, which commits to conducting, and making available, new research into what is currently understood of Somerset House’s social history.

Launched in 2020 our new Future Producers programme provides emerging creatives aged 18-30 who are underrepresented in the cultural sector opportunity and space to flourish here at Somerset House.