Ana Min Wein - Where Am I From - Nouf Aljowaysir

Channel launches new and exclusive commissions in collaboration with PATH-AI

Somerset House’s new curated online space for art, ideas and the artistic process announces new digital commissions, podcast series, films, editorial features and a live event

Channel is Somerset House’s recently launched curated online space for art, ideas and the artistic process. Its new and exclusive commissions in collaboration with PATH-AI launch today, 8 December 2022, alongside a second podcast series, films, talks and further editorial content added to the digital platform. The platform draws from Somerset House’s unique resident community and explores and unpacks the artistic process and the ideas that drive them. 


Three new short film commissions have been created by artists and researchers, Nouf Aljowaysir, Juan Covelli and Chris Zhongtian Yuan who were chosen for the 6-month PATH-AI residency programme. The residency will see the artists create works critically engaging with intercultural ideas of privacy, agency, and trust in relation to artificial intelligence (AI) and other data-driven technologies. 

In Nouf Aljowaysir’s film Ana Min Wein (Where am I From?), she teaches an AI to unlearn harmful biases as she constructs her genealogical journey and follows the migrational patterns of her Saudi and Iraqi ancestors. By reconfiguring cliched stereotypes of the Arab world and teaching the AI her story, she reclaims the erasure of her family’s collective memory. Chris Zhongtian Yuan’s Cloudy Song is a tale told in four parts in a not-so-far-away time. Following an exile who is trying to recover his memory with a ‘care robot’, together they try to piece together forgotten memories of the Chinese diaspora around the world. Juan Covelli’s work, LOS CAÍDOS (The Fallen), takes shape as an AI simulation on a battlefield illustrating the effects of extremist ideologies that bubble online and rupture into the real world using the National Strikes of Columbia in 2021 as the main source of inspiration. PATH AI is a collaboration between Somerset House Studios and the UAL Creative Computing Institute, in partnership with The Alan Turing Institute, the University of Edinburgh, and the RIKEN research institute in Japan. 


As part of the PATH AI series, a new editorial text for Channel was written by New York-based curator and cultural producer Julia Kaganskiy whose piece unpacks the commissions by Nouf Aljowaysir, Juan Covelli and Chris Zhongtian Yuan through common questions and themes, whilst reflecting on the challenges posed by AI and data-driven technologies. Kaganskiy notes how the artworks draw on insights from the PATH-AI report's findings, such as broad public concern over power asymmetries between users, governments, and corporations, as well as feelings of disempowerment and distrust from the lack of visibility into black-box tools and systems. She writes, “The artworks in this series help us vividly imagine what is at stake [when it comes to AI]. They seem to suggest a more situated, contextually aware approach that eschews a totalizing, top-down, universal design and places communities at the centre of the conversation.”

Also available today on Channel is Joshua Leon's new essay in response to Somerset House Studios’ Sam William and Roly Porter’s performance piece Salvage Rhythm as part of the closing weekend of Forest: Wake this Ground, at the Arnolfini, Bristol. 


Channel continues its online programme with its ‘Artists in Focus’ series with the addition of new films on Somerset House Studio residents Malik Nashad Sharpe aka marikiscrycrycry and Marija Bozinovska Jones. Sharpe is a choreographer, dancer, and movement director and Jones is an artist exploring links between social, computational and organic architectures. The short film produced by in-house filmmaker in residence Anna Dobos is seen through the lens of these artists, aiming to demystify the journey of their creative practice, tracing it from the original idea to its final form. 

Another film released today focuses on the recent performance that was part of Grada Kilomba’s O Barco installation. It captures select moments of the live performance, combining song, music, and dance, with music production by award-winning writer and musician Kalaf Epalanga. Designed and directed by the artist, the live ensemble provides new meaning to the installation, both acknowledging memories of the past and looking towards the future.

Coming Soon: upcoming releases on Channel

The Process Podcast: Season 2

The Process podcast produced by Alannah Chance returns with a second series in January. In this new series, Leila Dear asks how geometry can help us communicate with life on other planets; studios resident Libby Heaney explores quantum entanglement, through the prism of slime and quantum listening; musician Gazelle Twin goes hunting for ghosts; creative director Carson McColl looks at new ways of forming family; and Morgan Quaintance asks why AI research is shrouded in mystery.  The artistic process is inspired by worlds beyond itself. Somerset House Podcast 'The Process' brings those worlds together, drawing on their large on-site community and programmes of over 100 different artists. In each episode, The Process follows artists as they explore one idea from their current practice to see where it ends up.

Click & Collect: Show Me Your Dataset

Somerset House Studios, Channel and PATH AI will collaboratively host a day-long programme on February 18th titled Click & Collect: Show Me Your Dataset, curated by Doreen Rios. Focusing on the narratives that have shaped AI and a future that incorporates AI positively, the programme will include panels, screenings, workshops and performances. The full details of the event will be announced at a later date.


Two new talks will be added to the ‘In Conversation’ film series, the first is a panel conversation specially recorded for Channel as part of The Horror Show! moderated by Ceri Hand featuring artists Haroon Mirza, Zadie Xa and Sue Webster. The artists reflect on the exhibition and its three sections – Monster, Ghost and Witch – each interpreting the specific era through the lens of these classic horror archetypes.

Channel audiences will also be able to enjoy a special video summary of ‘The Sum of Us' — a landmark cross-cultural conversation hosted by Jude Kelly, as part of This Bright Land asking "how do we create a brighter future and build a better world?". Featuring project founders Gareth Pugh and Carson McColl, alongside representatives from Vogue Rites, We Exist, The Yard, ESEA Sisters and Minute Shorts with Jonathan Reekie, Director of Somerset House, and Gail Rebuck, Chair of Somerset House Trust and the international book publishing group Penguin Random House.


Alongside, Jo Alloway, a writer and activist who was on the advisory board for Gareth Pugh and Carson McColl’s celebratory festival This Bright Land, presents an original essay on the theme of Chosen Family and Love as a Political Action. Jo is also the co-founder of We Exist, the trans-led organisation that wants to provide more spaces for trans people to platform their work, their ideas and discuss issues affecting the community.


About Somerset House and Channel

Step Inside, Think Outside    

As the home of cultural innovators, Somerset House is a site of origination, with a cultural programme offering alternative perspectives on the biggest issues of our time. We are a place of joy and discovery, where everyone is invited to Step Inside and Think Outside. 

From our historic site in the heart of London, we work globally across art, creativity, business, and non-profit, nurturing new talent, methods and technologies. Our resident community of creative enterprises, arts organisations, artists and makers, makes us a centre of ideas, with most of our programme home-grown.    

We sit at the meeting point of artistic and social innovation, bringing worlds and minds together to create surprising and often magical results. Our spirit of constant curiosity and counter perspective is integral to our history and key to our future.  

Drawing from Somerset House’s unique resident community, the digital platform will showcase a rolling programme of exclusive commissions, documentaries, films, podcasts, talks, interactive works and editorial content. Channel’s content has been created with accessibility in mind and will provide alternative ways of presenting information such as subtitles and transcripts.

*Channel has been developed with support from the UK Government’s Culture Recovery Fund through Arts Council England