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15 Reasons to Go to Infecting The City
Everything you need to know about what to see at this FREE public arts festival and why you should see it
There are currently two types of people in the city of Cape Town: those who have experienced Infecting The City (ITC) and those who are yet to see the festival in all its splendour.
And now comes the time for a seemingly divided bunch of people to come under one banner because the much-loved annual free public art celebration is making its way back to Cape Town from Monday, 9 to Saturday, 14 March 2015 to give those familiar with the interactive event a much-needed re-up and to give first-timers the chance to finally have a go at it.
This year, the six day-long cultural feast, returns for the eighth time, boasting a line-up that features more multi-dimensional, cross-disciplinary pieces – that is, works that fuse together an array of artistic genres to create something unique and beautiful.
Otherwise, the overall intention of the event remains the same: to treat audiences to free and accessible art in public space while at the same encouraging people to explore and envision a city that has public spaces that are meaningful and that serve as platforms of interconnectedness.
On top of this main aim of the festival, it’s worth noting that this year’s 48 installations, performances, exhibitions and spontaneous acts of whimsy are the result of a diverse panel of curators rather than a single curator, which adds an extra layer of texture to the fest. Plus, word on the street is that audiences are in for a few surprises along the way.
Accordingly, organisers have hinted at the fact that festival-goers will need to be more active in planning what they’d like to see and when and should count on experiencing both a day and a night route, as each is made up of different types of work. 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 and conferred with the people at the top to give you 15 reasons to go to this year’s Infecting The City (click here for the full programme).
15 REASONS TO GO TO INFECTING THE CITY
1. Watch Cape Town’s garbage come to life
The Mother City’s garbage quite literally comes to life in Francois Knoetze's Cape Mongo, a piece that highlights Cape Town’s consumer culture through what are essentially five rubbish monsters. The riveting work, which uses sculptural, performance and video-montage processes, takes the form of a series of films that follow the creatures as they travel through different urban spaces - it not only reflects on the spatial and political conditions of Cape Town, but redefines garbage as a component that has inherent value and is also linked to identity.
Programme C | 12 March | Strand Concourse Centre
2. See dancers perform in the privacy of a hotel apartment
Participating audiences are given binoculars and mp3 players in order to peek into private apartments that have been turned into dance studios in the piece Living Room Dancers. Onlookers will then get to see a few dancers perform various movements and styles to bring the unique presentation to life. The piece challenges the perceptions of private and public spaces, and it explores our voyeuristic and exhibitionistic tendencies; a film presenting portraits of the dancers accompanies the work, which makes for interesting viewing.
Programme D | 12 & 13 March | Mandela Rhodes Place Hotel
3. Re-imagine the Foreshore area
Staged across the globe since 1996, Slinkie Love by Bedlam Oz strives to make audiences rethink the nature of city spaces using monstrous versions of the well-loved 1940s childhood toy. The slinkies, all of which are made from industrial materials and burst to a height of 6 metres, will twist and curl in busy spaces in the city centre as they fall in love with one another.
Programme B & C | 10, 11 & 12 March | Various
4. Take a deep look into Xhosa religious traditions
Khosi is a performance that incorporates traditional Xhosa music and dance to bring to life the thrilling story of a young girl who receives a calling from her ancestors and has to come to terms with her new fate. The piece uses the modernity of the Foreshore area as the stage, while at the same time giving audiences an intimate look into ancient rituals and ancestral worship practices of the Nguni culture.
Programme B | 10 & 11 March | Civic Centre
5. Colour-in the city
Colour Me In is an installation that encourages audiences to take a deeper look at South Africa’s political history and how that has affected land and city development. Participants then have the chance to take a bit of ownership back by colouring-in a part of a drawing of a city plan, which is meant to, metaphorically, make participants believe that they have restructured parts of the city to their liking.
Programme E | 13 & 14 March | Church Square
6. Interact with the British Coat of Arms
A public intervention performance, The British Coat of Arms brings the colonial symbol, which can be found at the Slave Lodge as well as other historical buildings throughout Cape Town, to life. Performers wearing costumes mimicking the golden lion and unicorn will interact with members of the public in a way that encourages them to engage with and possibly find some light heartedness in something that represents an imperialistic past.
Programme C | 12 March | Iziko Slave Lodge
7. Delve into the topic of ‘madness’
Madness – A Preliminary Sketch follows the life of a young architect who falls into the world of delusion and darkness due to the mounting pressures of socio-economic needs and wants. His journey is captured through a live music ensemble, a choir and animated drawing. The different elements come together beautifully in a bid to shed light on the topic of ‘madness’ as it’s a concept not readily spoken about in society and one that we can perhaps address with more of a progressive empathetic approach.
Programme A | 9 & 10 March | Groote Kerk
8. Watch other-worldly beings release a giant purple orb into the night sky
Inspired by a /Xam poem and previously brought to life at Afrikaburn 2013, Prayer to the Moon is an enchanting and visually arresting piece that depicts a story of how a new moon comes to pass. The performance features half-animal half-human stilted beings that lead a ritual that ultimately results in a giant purple orb (the moon) being raised and released into the night sky.
Programme A | 9 & 10 March | Castle of Good Hope
9. Experience parts of the city as a live musical score
Surface Passing is a collaborative project by composer Galina Juritz, sound artist Kurt Human and filmmaker Roger Young that explores the city’s streets as well as the people that use them daily in a unique way. In the spirit of silent films set to a live score, the work’s musicians improvise sound based on simultaneous live film that features passers-by around them.
Programme C | 12 March | Golden Acre Centre
10. Reflect on 2014’s Infecting The City
Video piece Infecting The City brings elements of 2014’s festival into focus by displaying last year’s footage of painting interventions in hopes of exploring the diversity and complexities of art forms and audience reception. The piece highlights three forms of paint interventions: body painting, splashing of paint and ‘traditional’ painting, and ultimately the artist suggests that the social structure of life could possibly be one of the most important reasons for art.
Programme C | 12 March | Strand Concourse Centre
11. Watch African cinema under the African sky
Analogue Eye - Video Art Africa is a mobile and pop-up cinema experience that brings diverse video artworks from the African continent to Cape Town in unexpected public platforms and spaces. The project celebrates the classic drive-in experience as well as early projectionists like Sol Plaatjie, who committed himself to bringing ‘moving images’ to the people of Africa.
Programme A & D | 9, 10, 12 & 13 March | Castle of Good Hope (9-10 March); Company’s Garden (12-13 March)
12. See the city as a large panoramic shot
Audiences get to see the Mother City’s business district in a new light through Picturing the City, a drawing project that calls on various Capetonian artists across different backgrounds to pool their skills to create one large-scale 360-degree panoramic sketch of the CBD. The tableau, upon completion, will be exhibited at SMITH studio at 56 Church Street.
Programme E | 13 & 14 March | Grand Central Centre Parkade
13. Indulge in tasty treats in the evening
For the first time ever, Infecting The City has built in a dinner time break that allows spectators to indulge in tasty treats during the night-time segments of the festival. Attendees can grab a bite in between performances from one of six food trucks or a dop from one of two Spier stands that will be set up in the Castle of Good Hope on Monday and Tuesday and at the Company’s Garden on Thursday and Friday. And in true ITC form, during the ‘halftime’ of sort, the Analogue Eye outdoor cinema experience will flicker to life to give diners some eye candy to boot.
Programme A | 9 & 10 March | Castle of Good Hope
Programme D | 12 & 13 March | Company’s Garden
14. See the youth of the Mother City partake in Infecting The City
With a need for the festival to dig deep roots into the future of the arts, YouthScapes, an initiative that trains young learners from different backgrounds in Cape Town about the disciplines of space, architecture, movement and composition, was born. This year, programmes B, C and E will see participants of the YouthScapes initiative perform at Infecting The City.
15. Take part in discussions about public art in Cape Town
Recent public art installations, like ‘Perceiving Freedom’ in Sea Point as well as the ‘Sun Star’ on Signal Hill, have sparked heated discussions around the role of art in shared spaces, and the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts’s (GIPCA) Remaking Place Public Art Symposium runs parallel to the festival and looks to tackle this issue and others in a series of panel discussions. The meetings, which are free and open to all, bring together international and local speakers and will bring to the fore interesting dialogues around public space and art. The series of panel discussions opens at 6pm on Sunday 8, March and will run daily at appointed times until Thursday, 12 March at the University of Cape Town’s Hiddingh Campus. Though entry is absolutely free, those wishing to attend need to make sure they register via GIPCA by emailing [email protected] or calling +27 (0) 21 480 7156.
Want to learn more about this cutting-edge public arts festival? Read about the impetus behind Cape Town’s Infecting The City.
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