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Thirty one days of artistic challenge and discovery opened across the Welsh capital on Thursday 20 October 2016 as Cardiff Contemporary gets underway for its fourth edition. This visual art festival of delights, titled Are You Ready? features international and Wales-based artists who will charge the city streets, galleries, forgotten spaces and communities with the crackle of new and exciting ideas in multi-disciplinary visual, sonic and performance arts. The theme of ‘communication’ looms large, as artists and audiences are urged to look beyond earth, through time and to each other, for clues, answers and inspiration.

Let The Stars Be Set Upon The Board, Megan Broadmeadow. Image courtesy the artist. Photo: Jan Vrhovnik

Taking in historic sites from the city centre to Cardiff Bay, Cardiff Contemporary will find its focus in a temporary hub, The Angel, developed to include four new gallery spaces across a derelict, former motorcycle garage beneath the city’s Angel Hotel just across, along and opposite the castle gates. From here brand new commissions will radiate out across Cardiff. These will include impressive new public sculpture along one of Cardiff’s most public landmarks; the take-over of the imposing-yet-defunct Customs and Immigration Building at Cardiff Bay for an exhilarating, public reclamation; and an unmissable light sculpture in the heart of the city centre.

Artists and groups confirmed include: Megan BroadmeadowLaura FordRoman Štětina with curator Louise HobsonRobert MontgomeryHeather and Ivan MorisonAnthony ShaplandRob Smith and Charles DanbytactileBOSCHSpit & Sawdust with Edwin Burdis and a collaboration between Locus Collective (Richard James, Angharad Van Rjiswijk), comedian and writer, Stewart Lee and Andy Fung.

The themes and overarching title for the festival, Are You Ready?, are a direct reference to the residency of Guglielmo Marconi in the city. As an exile from Italy where his pioneering vision was met with scepticism, Marconi was supported by the British Post Office to develop his experiments into radio communications technology. Assisted by local engineer, George Kemp, Marconi succeeded in transmitting those three, immortal words in Morse code from Flat Holm Island in the Bristol Channel to Lavernock Point, Glamorgan, on 13 May 1897. Just four years later, the pair succeeded in the first transatlantic radio transmission. Artists have been asked to consider this history and the modern age of instant and relentless communication in developing new work.

A Car Park In Cardiff, Edwin Burdis. Image courtesy of the artist

Cardiff Contemporary is a Cardiff Council initiative, developed by Visual Arts Manager, Ruth Cayford. Creating a period of city-wide, creative celebration, it coincides with Artes Mundi 7 art prize and exhibition (opening Friday 21 October at National Museum Cardiff and Chapter) and the city-wide Sŵn Music Festival (Friday 21 – Sunday 23 October, various venues).

For full information on each commission, dates, times and locations, plus further events including screenings, talks and workshops: