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Hull City of Culture to host huge COUM Transmissions events programme

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Cosey Fanni Tutti and Genesis P-Orridge are to perform live as part of a series of events for Hull UK City of Culture, which will mark their radical art collective COUM Transmissions.

The live show on 3 February will open the COUM Transmissions retrospective that will run across the city until 22 March.

Alongside solo performances from both artists, the events programme includes a live set from Carter Tutti Void, a Q&A with Tutti and P-Oriddge and a book reading from Tutti’s forthcoming ART SEX MUSIC autobiography.

The Quietus’ Luke Turner, Surgeon and Blackest Ever Black’s Kiran Sande will DJ, while The Quietus’ editor John Doran will perform alongside Simon Fisher Turner as Squarewaves.

The events will run in conjunction with a six-week COUM Transmissions exhibition at Humber Street Gallery, curated by Tutti and Cabinet London.

The show will present material drawn from the archives of Tutti and P-Orridge (held by Tate Britain) alongside new filmed interviews with some original COUM members.

Tutti, talking on her return to Hull, said: So much has changed for me and Hull since I left in 1973. I couldn’t get out quickly enough – and some who thought of me and COUM as distasteful, disruptive elements couldn’t wait for me to leave either.

‘My own and COUM’s activities went up quite a few notches after Hull. Now I’ll be back and Hull is all “cultured up”, embracing COUM and recognising its influence and place in art history. I’m thrilled to be returning to my hometown to co-curate the first ever COUM exhibition… and in Humber Street Gallery, one of the former fruit warehouses that unwittingly fed me for free when I was penniless and hungry.’

P-Orridge added: ‘We left Hull in July 1973 and have never been back since. We also burned all our journals from that era too. Leaving us with very few triggers to reviewing any memories. As the COUM collective we didn’t like the term “perform”, it implies choosing to pretend to be… we were more happy with “actions”, something you DO, spontaneous, energised, intuitive and a coumpulsion.

‘For us, the non-creation of art is as valid as creating it. The thought alone is often enough. So walking those streets in Hull again in 2016 was like being a ghost searching for my SELF in a distant past.

‘The strangest and most unexpected feeling we experienced was that everywhere, every building, seemed smaller than we recall. Just like accessing memories of events as a very young child things are often seen as far more large in scale, more overwhelming; for me visiting Hull had the opposite effect. When we checked our Hull memories against the present day, we discovered that everything felt like it had shrunk. Not just a little, but by a huge amount.’

Martin Green, chief executive and director of Hull 2017, said: ‘That Hull gave birth to COUM Transmissions is one of the great untold stories and I am thrilled that Hull 2017 gives us the opportunity to tell it to the world.

‘The COUM retrospective, which opens the brand new Humber Street Gallery and these live events, will offer a belated contemporary insight into this ground-breaking art collective, which continues to be hugely influential. As one of the early highlights of Hull 2017 it underlines how this city has been at the forefront of cutting edge ideas that challenge convention.’

Full details of the programme are available at

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