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15 Reasons to Go to Infecting the City
The not-to-be-missed highlights of this 2014 public arts festival
The not-to-be-missed highlights of this 2014 public arts festival
Thanks to the seventh consecutive Infecting the City (ITC) festival, artistic expression looks to go viral across Cape Town’s central civic spaces from Monday, 10 to Saturday, 15 March 2014, and this year, more so than ever before, the publically hosted outbreak of creativity is calling on YOU (the audience) to participate.
The interactive cultural fiesta demands that members of the public become players and that ordinary pedestrians become extraordinary props in one combined effort to transform the CBD into a humongous outdoor venue where art is free and accessible to the everyman.
Aside from this added emphasis on engagement, this year’s 40-odd installations, performances, exhibitions and spontaneous acts of whimsy include more works that are the result of collaboration between local and international artists. Plus, word on the street is that the pieces are larger and more substantial than those of any other previous year.
Accordingly, organisers have hinted at the fact that audiences will need to be more active in planning what they’d like to see and when. So, in an effort to better prepare you for the six glorious days when street corners become staging grounds, cobblestone squares become concert halls and pedestrian ways become exhibition walks, we scoured the programme, conferred with the people at the top and found 15 highlights that you won’t want to miss (click here for the full programme).
15 INFECTING THE CITY 2014 PROGRAMME HIGHLIGHTS
1. THORISO LE MORUSU
Separated out as one of the most beautiful pieces of ITC 2013, Thoriso le Morusu returns this year to present the public with what’s sure to be another resounding performance in the Centre for the Book. Audiences who missed it last year now have another chance to hear renowned South African poet Antjie Krog’s poem Country of Grief and Grace sung in three different languages: English, Afrikaans and Sesotho. The verse is played in five movements – a prayer, a confession, the mantra, a manifesto and catharsis – and is a harrowing account of a conversation between two people who have caused each other great pain.
Programme A | 10 & 11 March | Centre for the Book | 6:50pm
2. THE ACCUMULATION IS PRIMITIVE
This evocative installation looks to throw light on the degree to which maps and their lines and borders are the result of post-colonial market mechanisms. It sounds complicated, but more tangibly, artist Pedro Bustamante will use candles to create a raised relief map representative of various nations’ gross domestic products (GDPs). He looks to show how primitive accumulation and class distinction play a significant role in shaping our world, quite literally.
Programme A | 10 & 11 March | Queen Victoria Street | 7:35pm
3. POLITE FORCE
Leveraging on and thereby emphasising the power of simple acts of kindness, Polite Force sees anonymous agents dressed in riot gear move through crowds doing the most basic of good deeds: giving directions, lighting cigarettes and telling people the time. The first noteworthy performance was staged on the first anniversary of 9/11 in front of Johannesburg’s World Trade Center, and since, the unit has ‘patrolled’ in countries across the world.
Programme A | 10 & 11 March | On Route | 9:30pm
4. SURVEILLANCE STAGE
Alien Oosting’s interactive exhibition gives audiences a real opportunity to become players in the festival, not mere watchers. Turning the idea of Big Brother on its head, he uses a surveillance camera to film the way in which passers-by engage with a portion of well-lit city street and then he projects the footage in real time onto the side of a building. The project transforms a technology that often results in self-regulation into a medium that rather encourages self-expression.
Programme A | 10 & 11 March | Cnr Wale & Long streets | 9:45pm
5. LIVE SOLO SOUND PERFORMANCE
Internationally acclaimed experimental sound artist Francisco López wants to blindfold you in one of Cape Town’s most beautiful historic buildings and whisk you away to a virtual world built from sounds collected in rainforests, deserts, cityscapes and more. Sound like a good way to spend your lunch break? We think so. Come experience what it’s like to be truly and completely immersed in a sonic experience.
Programme B | 11 & 12 March | Centre for the Book | 12pm
If architectural features, like spires and Doric columns, could hug you, would you feel more connected with them and more conscious of their existence? Kira Kemper looks to find out with her Wall-Hug act. The production sees performers dressed in fleecy, soft costumes that mimic architectural details of specific Cape Town buildings embrace bystanders. The performance also draws attention to the way in which we negotiate public and private space.
Programme A | 10 & 11 March | Queen Victoria Street | 7pm – 8:30pm, intermittently
7. 100 YEARS OF SYMPHONY
Celebrate the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra’s centenary by cheering on the group at one of two free Greenmarket Square concerts. The 45-minute performances pay homage to a body that’s arguably the most active orchestra on the continent. The ensemble has shared the stage with countless internationally acclaimed musos and puts on close to 140 shows per year.
Programme A | 10 & 11 March | Greenmarket Square | 8:45pm
8. …CON TATTO
Swiss collaborative DA MOTUS! looks to turn pedestrians into props as part of its light-hearted, yet sensitive exploration of empathy and human contact. The performance also plays on our increasing fear and suspicion of life in the city by getting members of the troupe to interact with both architecture and passers-by. Skip the tea break and rather make a point of stumbling upon this quirky afternoon production.
Programme B | 11 & 12 March | Thibault Square | 2pm
9. ENVIRONNEMENT VERTICAL
French choreographer Fabrice Guillot challenges us to rethink the way in which we envision and relate to architecture with this high-flying vertical duet. The dance uses the side of one of Cape Town’s pseudo-skyscrapers as a stage, and the performers are suspended from a dizzying height for the entirety of the act.
Programme B | 11 & 12 March | Pier Place | 3:20pm
Boutique perfumer Tammy Frazer normally only bottles her handcrafted aromas for the likes of Harrods in London and the recently launched Annindriya Perfume Lounge in Amsterdam. For ITC 2014 though, she’s made an exception. The incredibly talented creative will be using the St Georges Mall fountains to circulate scents inspired by the natural organics of the Western Cape: fynbos, renosterveld, strandveld and more. The hope is that at a single whiff, passers-by will call to mind memories and experiences rooted in smell.
Programme D | 11 – 15 March | Cnr St Georges Mall and Strand Street | festival duration
11. STEAL MY PHOTOGRAPH!
Another example of a project that depends on YOU (the audience), Steal My Photograph! invites the general public to descend on St Georges Mall and take any of the pictures that cameraman Lukas Renlund has strung up along the pedestrian way. The catch? You have to send the artist a photo of the spot in which you’ve hung the stolen image (think the gnome from Amélie). When Renlund launched the social experiment in Copenhagen in 2012, all of the pictures were gone in 30 seconds and he received images from as near as Sweden and as far as the USA.
Programme D | 13 March | St Georges Mall
Last year, artist Brian Lobel gave audiences free rein to dictate which of his 1300 Facebook friends he should delete or keep. The crowd had one minute to hear Brian’s case for a particular friendship before they opted to maintain or obliterate the online ‘relationship’. A mystery guest now looks to repeat the social experiment at ITC and further investigate the fallout from the original process. Moreover, the project aims to instigate discussion about the way in which we interact with digital media and the difference between ‘cyberships’ and real friendships.
Programme C | 12 March at 5pm (Performance); 13 & 14 March at 9pm (Performance Lecture) | 6 Spin Street Restaurant
13. UNCLES & ANGELS
The manipulation of cultural heritage. It’s a subject that seems to dance more and more on the lips of the great thinkers of our nation, and in this performance, choreographer Nelisiwe Xaba and video artist Mocke J van Veuren investigate how the Zulu tradition of the reed dance, a celebration meant to promote respect for young women and their virginity, has been exploited as a tourist attraction and abused for the purpose of electioneering. The production also questions the relationship between young, innocent girls and the seemingly respected men who often dominate them.
Programme E | 13 & 14 March | Hiddingh Hall, UCT Hiddingh Campus | 6:20pm
14. ANTJIE IN BERLIN
Master pianist Jill Richards and composer Rudiger Meyer invite audiences to embark on an aural journey comprising recordings of renowned South African writer Antjie Krog’s voice and a piano-performed sound landscape pilfered from the city of Berlin. Krog, who’s often thought of as Mzansi’s ‘poet laureate of political angst’, is heard reading letters that were written during her residency in the German city (many of which were included in her book Begging to be Black), and the interplay of the music and the rhythm and cadence of her voice explores the presence and remoteness of communication over long distances.
Programme F | 14 March at 2:45pm & 15 March at 12:45pm | Slave Church
A definite must-see, this energetic performance combines the efforts of 30 incredible pantsula dancers and the Cape Philharmonic Youth Wind Ensemble. The result? Flash mobs, impassioned solos and a vibrant homage to the lives and culture of young people in the city. Add some bounce to your step and make a plan to catch the act – there are five separate show times.
Programme F | 14 March at 1:50pm; Golden Acre Shopping Centre | 14 March at 3:50pm & 8:50pm; Church Square | 15 March at 11:50pm; Golden Acre Shopping Centre | 15 March at 1:50pm; Church Square
WIN A SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 3 WITH INFECTING THE CITY
Because Infecting the City is all about connecting people, it only made sense that the organisers sorted out a way to offer you the chance to better keep in touch. In short, who wants to win a free Samsung GALAXY Note 3?!
To enter to take home the awesome handset, all you have to do is send a picture of your experience at the festival to CapeTownMagazine.com via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #ITC2014 attached.
And just in case you were wondering what the phone’s all about:
Samsung launched the new and improved GALAXY Note 3 at the end of 2013 to give users an even more innovative chance to tell their life story. The handset’s larger screen, 13-megapixel camera, enhanced multitasking features and streamlined note-taking functionality means that whether you’re documenting your holiday or preparing for a business presentation you’ll find it’s easy, quick and exciting to get the job done.
Want to learn more about this cutting-edge public arts festival? Read about the impetus behind Infecting the City.
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