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Coum Transmissions

Gender: Mixed
Country: United Kingdom
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COUM Transmissions were a music and performance art collective who operated in the United Kingdom from 1969 through to 1976. Influenced by the Dada artistic movement, COUM were openly confrontational and subversive, challenging aspects of conventional British society. Founded in Hull, Yorkshire by Genesis P-Orridge, other prominent early members included Cosey Fanni Tutti and Spydeee Gasmantell (also at school with Genesis P-Orridge). Part-time member included Menzies, Haydn Robb, Les Maull (aka The Reverend Lelli), Ray Harvey and Fizzy Paet. Later members included Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson and Chris Carter, who together with P-Orridge and Fanni Tutti went on to found the pioneering industrial band Throbbing Gristle in 1976.  It had a rotating membership, and included both intellectual and criminal elements and existed formally from 1969 until 1976. In that year, Genesis & Cosey exhibited at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts in a show called Prostitution, which consisted of explicit photographs of lesbians, assemblages of rusty knives, syringes, bloodied hair, used sanitary towels, press clippings and photo documentation of COUM performances in Milan and Paris. There was a lot of outrage expressed by London newspapers and UK politicians, including Tory MP Nicholas Fairbairn, who referred to COUM as the "wreckers of Western civilization". However, memberships to the ICA increased sharply as a result of the COUM show.[1]  The last official COUM performances and art shows took place in 1976. At or around that time, Genesis proclaimed s/he was through with performance art. Cosey, on the other hand, felt she had only just begun. Though she feels the name COUM to be "tainted" now and unusable, she has been known to say her individual projects are still a part of the COUM family of work[citation needed]. In fact for a while she had a website called Coum.