The Art Insider: September '18

Image: KHOR II, by Dutch-Belgian collective TAAT

Ruthie Collins gives you the lowdown on arty happenings around Cambridge in September  

September – it was the most beautiful of words,” once wrote Alexander Theroux. It’s certainly a gorgeous time of year, and as summer fades into autumn, there’s plenty to keep us all busy on the city’s art circuit. 

A late summer weekend of playful disruption is heading to the city on 8 and 9 September. In Your Way, presented by Cambridge Junction and produced by Other Ways, features five projects, headlined by installation KHOR II, the UK premiere of the piece by Dutch-Belgian collective TAAT (Theatre as Architecture Architecture as Theatre). 

“All projects are quietly political, raising questions about the city’s development, who it belongs to, who lives here and who the city is for, and simply encouraging people to meet each other and interact with each other and their landscape in new ways,” says Daniel Pitt, who is one of the artistic directors of Other Ways, along with Sarah Crompton.

“People can hunt the projects out across the city centre, and get involved in whatever way they fancy – from just passing and looking, adding or taking away some pennies, helping to carry something along the Cam, joining in to build a flatpack democratic pavilion, or to being part of a discussion or play with strangers on the Sunday with KHOR II's Play and Share aspects, once it is built.”

KHOR II is not so much ‘Do It Yourself’, but ‘Do It Together’ – a theatrical installation taking place on Christ’s Pieces, which sees the public make a wooden pavilion, which can subsequently be used for performances, cultural activities, and as a platform to redesign their community – check for more info. 

Watch out for the world premiere of a performance-based piece by Caroline Wright, the first offering from the Cambridge City Council-funded River Art Residency, which takes place along the River Cam – also part of the outdoor arts extravaganza. “We've set out to disrupt the status quo a little bit in Cambridge for the weekend, and to bring contemporary arts projects which encourage debate around the life, people and development of our city to the public – the people should be part of this conversation,” adds Daniel. Check @inyourwaycambs for more information and to get involved. 

Wysing’s annual music festival Polyphonic returns on 1 September, with a programme jointly curated by Camae Ayewa (Moor Mother) and Paul Purgas (Emptyset). This year, it’s shaped by a thread of ‘mysticism and spiritual energy’. Moor Mother, artist in residence at Wysing over the summer, is known for her distinctive sounds, seared with dark textures – punk in feel, a poet whose explosive work smashes disciplines (her album Fetish Bones was one of Rolling Stone’s best avant-garde albums in 2016). 

“When I started thinking about this year’s festival I kept coming back to Fetish Bones,” says Wysing director Donna Lynas. “I thought it would be interesting to speak to Camae Ayewa to see how her thinking might be made visible within a music festival format.” 

Co-curator Paul Purgas is also a familiar face at Wysing, where he’s been involved with the festival since he performed there in 2012. Also, watch out for the haunting work of Aisha Devi – Nepalese-Tibetan songstress, whose voice is stunning.

The crossover between art and music has long been a fascination of mine, so it’s a real joy to see Cambridge-born sound artist Tom Richards release his first album, Pink Nothing, through label Nonclassical this summer – which has snared air time on the likes of BBC Radio 6 Music. Sound bleeds in disruptive harmonies: if Jackson Pollock had lived long enough to turn musician and invent a soundtrack to a 1980s video game, this would be it.

The crossover between art and music has long been a fascination"

Meanwhile, those seeking late-summer beach action close by to Cambridge, head to experimental electronica music festival Yarmonics Electronics. This appears on the 21 and 22 September in Great Yarmouth – a day trip from Cambridge, curated by art space Original Projects (with whom I’m writing over the next year, hurrah). Still the UK’s number one tourist destination, Yarmouth is home to a thriving, ambitious contemporary arts scene – expect to see more happening here over the next couple of years as artists increasingly seek out new hotspots.

Finally, tattoo artists at Fidelio & Art at 190-192 Mill Road are happily celebrating their first year in business this year. Pop in to chat to award-winning Sorin Cacio, who took the leap into tattooing after a career in the Spanish army. Celebrated internationally for his work in realism and colour, he opened Fidelio & Art last year with co-investor Nico Haupt. Fabulous make-up artist Sam Norman has recently joined as tattoo artist apprentice, and will no doubt add to their success. Check out to find out more about the studio and see some of their work. Have a fabulous September, all!