For this major new arts festival, which is free and open to all, more than 100 artists, filmmakers, poets and musicians will fill dozens of spaces on Kent’s Canterbury campus with intriguing, thought-provoking and fun artworks. There will also be activities at the University’s Medway campus and in Canterbury City centre.
On the opening evening, Future Signals will light up the city sky as a Morse code conversation is beamed from the University to Canterbury Cathedral. The work celebrates the University’s recent 50th anniversary with messages of hope for the next half century from diverse figures ranging from Yoko Ono to Radio One’s Gemma Cairney.
One of the big attractions will be a traditional fairground test-your-strength machine that has been given a modern makeover by artist Butch Auntie. It uses video-mapping to project the results of visitors’ mallet swings on to a building in the heart of the Canterbury campus.
Other works at the free festival allow audience members to interact using iPads and gaming technology.
There is also a ‘spooky podcast’ for the train journey between Canterbury and the Turner Contemporary in Margate for those seeking a complete art away day by visiting the gallery’s sister show, its first major film-based exhibition.
Old-tech is represented too with rare magic lantern machines, Victorian slide shows and early cartoons. There are also workshops where children and adults can learn how to make their own budget projector and then beam their images on to some of the University buildings.
Film, in all its guises, plays a central role in the festival. There will be more than 30 screenings, some in unusual outdoor locations, including a drive in cinema with live music soundtrack by cult Japanese band Night of the Stickmen (of Bo Ningen).
The films range from early silent works by Hitchcock to a horror classic and innovative new pieces by young artists and filmmakers.
Talks include a question and answer session with award-winning director Jan Dunn, after a screening of her acclaimed debut feature Gypo.
Most of the events take place around the Canterbury campus, where musicians and poets will add to the festival atmosphere.
Funded as one of the University’s Beacon Projects, which were announced during its 50th Anniversary celebrations, the Festival has been designed to showcase internationally renowned arts together with ground-breaking research at Kent.
The full programme is available on the Festival website.