Public Arts Festival
Text by Felicia Pattison – Bacon
Infecting The City (ITC) is a vibrant, multi-disciplinary public arts festival that has taken place in the communal spaces of the City of Cape Town since 2008.
This annual innovation channels high-quality indigenous South African talent, socially-engaged performance, and visual art from theatres and galleries to the communal area of cities – in the process, transforming them into spectacular outdoor venues.
Infecting The City – the only project of its kind on the African continent – arose from the need to exhibit distinctive contemporary and historical South African works of art to as wide an audience as possible.
As only the arts often can, ITC creates and encourages dialogue within city spaces and amongst diverse audiences. Infecting The City is an essential way for citizens in Cape Town to engage with each other in their collectively owned spaces respectively and to do so in the company of the arts.
Given a variety of factors, many South Africans remain geographically and economically marginalised and are rarely able to experience dance, theatre, performance art, music and large-scale visual art installations. ITC works towards challenging this by hosting a wide range of artistic forms – with artists from throughout South Africa and abroad – in common urban settings where anyone may access original and indigenous works of art. ITC has always orbited around youth creativity, energy and participation via its artists, audiences and festival staff, ensuring that young people gain training, employment and access to the arts.
The Africa Centre believes Infecting The City to be a vital intervention in promoting South African artistic excellence on a broad and inclusive scale. As we celebrate 20 years of democracy it is relevant to note the cultural manifestations that seek to celebrate the rich cultural diversity that this country has to offer and the freedom of expression for which South Africans fought so vehemently.
We believe it is vital to nurture South African’s artists and performers who continue to challenge us about how we perceive our identities and realities.
Infecting The City Cape Town 2014 consisted of a six-day programme that included: 62 day-time performances and 40 evening performances. The Festival presented a total of 102 performances of 54 different works that included over 442 artists.
ITC 2014 engaged a total of 32 600 audience members.
Infecting the City has seen tremendous growth since its inception in 2008 in terms of audience numbers (a significant level of growth from 5000 people to more than 32 000 in 7 years as well as in the quality of the work on offer, and has become a recognisable annual festival in Cape Town.
ITC welcomes a diversity of citizens from Cape Town and will increasingly seek to target audience members from outside of the city to engage with the arts and with each other (across race and class) in their city.
Infecting The City 2015
Looking towards the next iteration of ITC Cape Town in March 2015, the Festival will also consist of a mixture of artworks including:
-Existing productions from arts organisations and groups that will be re-staged at the festival;
-The creation of new work: as part of this process, a national call to artists will be made to submit proposals for the development and creation of new works/productions that will be featured at the festival; and
– Collaborative works directed by the Festival Director.
Vitally, ITC is a way for citizens of Cape Town to own and engage with their collective space. Today, most of the 4.5 million people living in Cape Town rarely experience, because of financial or geographical constraints, dance, performance art, music and large scale visual art installations. ITC works towards changing this reality by hosting a wide range of artistic forms with artists from South Africa and abroad, with a focus on finding ways for everyone to see, hear and find themselves in the art produced.
Important to ITC is Arts Aweh! – a youth development project which is designed to foster a love of the arts and the city of Cape Town amongst school learners.
The Africa Centre
The Africa Centre is a not for profit arts and culture social innovator based in Cape Town and working throughout South Africa and Africa. Founded in 2005, the organisation functions as a platform for exploring contemporary Pan-African cultural practice as a catalyst for social change while providing a space for the celebration, creation and performance of contemporary African artistic expression. Our innovative projects reflect these core values – each project is highly visible and effective, and operates according to clear goals. The process and the outcomes of our projects are continuously documented and evaluated. Infecting The City functions as one of five projects currently implemented by the Africa Centre.