Don’t be put off by the name of this public arts festival, because it’s all about how people going about their daily lives can be affected by the arts through unique performances, artworks and installations. Cape Town is the backdrop, public spaces are the stages and the passing public are the audience to a mesmerising showcase of live culture across all artistic disciplines that will ignite, mystify and intrigue the Mother City.
Over 60 new artworks by acclaimed South African and international artists will be part of this 6th annual free public arts festival and will be Infecting The City between 11 to 16 March. It is once again curated by Jay Pather, Director of the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts at UCT (amongst other credentials). He says, “Infecting the City has grown from its opening in 2008 with just over 10 artworks, to 60 artworks and performances this year. There has been a 300% increase in submissions to participate between 2012 and 2013 and the audience has diversified and grown – all testimony to an assured public interest in a festival of this nature.”
The Festival will follow routes throughout the City, giving audiences a chance to follow the entire journey of artworks for a diverse experience, or pick and choose experiences along the way. The routes differ according to times and days and the programme is available on www.infectingthecity.com/2013 and you can find them on Facebook and Twitter. There’s a one-minute YouTube video too. All performances listed on the Festival Programme are free to the public.
Some of the many “must see” performances are:
- A Giant Puppet flashmob, a 40 strong flute mob, gospel singers on bicycles and a mob of over 300 skateboarders cruising through the city.
- Catherine Henegan’s acclaimed Afro Galactic Dream Factory
- Mamela Nyamza’s triumphant return from sell out London shows
- 1000 paper jets of mini artworks released into the city skies by Jason Potgieter
- A “real-time” performance of daily news headlines by Jazzart
- A painstaking construction of a fragile wooden edifice inside the District Six Museum by Aeneas Wilder and Winnie Sze
- Sprawling glow stick installations across city pavements by Marcus Neustetter
- The tragic and thought-provoking contemporary performance, Widow by Mandisi Shindo – exploring loss and triumph outside the St George’s Cathedral
- A Light Symphony by French artist Antoine Schmidt on Church Square
As part of the Africa Centre’s youth programme, ‘Arts Aweh!’ 400 high school pupils from across greater Cape Town will be transported to the City Centre to engage and interact with the festival and its artists. The Festival is presented by the Africa Centre, which provides a platform for exploring contemporary Pan-African arts and cultural practice as a catalyst for social change.
Tell us your impressions of the encounters you’ve had with street performances during this festival.