- Words Miriam Balanescu
Somerset House’s summer exhibition, No Comply, delves into the past 45 years of skateboarding culture.
With the number of skateboarders surging (now marks the biggest increase since the year 2000, soaring to a whopping 750,000 skaters in the UK alone), Somerset House has wheeled out an exhibition celebrating the ever-growing sport.
Coinciding with skateboarding’s recent first appearance at the Tokyo Olympics, curator Tory Turk has put together three rooms wielding the work of photographers, designers and filmmakers. The immersive exhibit utilizes film, sound, art, fashion, design, photography and archive material to skid into the subculture and its past 45 years.
‘City as Playground’ showcases the way in which skateboarders have repurposed urban spaces, imaginatively reconceiving them as sites of creativity. ‘Doing it with others’ explores the sub-culture as advocating DIY, with print culture, fashion and video game aesthetics unravelled. A retro video game allowing players to experience street skateboarding in UK locations will also be showcased. ‘Doing it for yourself’, meanwhile, turns the lens on the community’s grassroots campaigns and initiatives, drawing together photographs, archives and personal anecdotes.
Four new film commissions from Dan Emmerson, filmmakers Dan Magee and Sirus f Gahan with Helena Long, will shed new light on skateboarding’s impact and importance. The final film of the exhibition brings together Somerset House’s Creators-in-Residence and Google Arts & Culture to document the UK’s skater communities.
Helena Long, skateboarding-fanatic and consultant curator, has said: “Finally, an exhibition that celebrates the beautiful, multifaceted and diverse community that is skateboarding today.”
No Comply is open until the 19th September and slots must be booked in advance.