Abandon Netflix and take to the streets of Cape Town for the ultimate screening experiences, performances and installations this May and June! The longest-running public arts festival in South Africa, Infecting the City, renamed (Un)Infecting the City for this year, offers a unique opportunity to bring art, music, dance and performance out of theatres and galleries and into public spaces. The 2021 festival, presented by the University of Cape Town’s Institute for Creative Arts (ICA), upholds its public-hearted spirit but has updated its format to allow for social distancing.
In previous years, the festival has reimagined transport and shopping hubs, squares, gardens and public walkways as transformative stages. It showcased an array of multi-disciplinary art forms and created a platform for artworks that engage with historical and contemporary narratives relevant to the city and its people. As South Africa grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, and more recently, the fires in Cape Town and at UCT, this year’s (Un)Infecting the City will have a thematic focus on the psychological and social impacts of this time.
COVID-19 in itself has led to a dramatic loss of human life nationwide. The beginning of 2021, in particular, has seen many people having to come to terms with the loss of loved ones. Says Director of the ICA, Jay Pather: “The pandemic has presented an unprecedented challenge to mental health, food systems, employment and the arts. Still observing the festival’s city-based concerns of urbanity and spatial politics, some of the artists on the programme consider how these concerns have been further exacerbated by the pandemic. There are also many works that celebrate resilience, spirit and community.” For instance, acclaimed artist Wezile Mgibe will present a work aptly titled ‘We regret to inform you’ that echoes these sentiments.
The festival has been restructured to embrace a new social-distancing model that will allow it to go ahead within the current restrictions and with respect to all health and safety protocols. Reimagined as a crowd-free event and taking place across multiple outdoor venues, (Un)Infecting the City also incorporates new digital and virtual elements. This will make it possible for anyone with an Internet connection to experience the festival, expanding the festival beyond the physical limits of Cape Town.
(Un)Infecting the City programme
Comprising eight distinct programmes, (Un)Infecting the City offers a wealth of culturally rich opportunities created by 50 different artists that are entirely free to the public. Here’s what you can experience.
Programme 1 runs from 8-9 May 2021 from 18h30 onwards. It is a series of videos screened on the sides of buildings within the CBD combined with performances. A walking trail will connect the various screening sites culminating at Church Square. Highlights include a film by Buhlebezwe Siwani and two live performances by Marlin Zoutman and
Kwasukasukela Arts Collective respectively.
Programme 2 is video-only, running from 11-12 May 2021. Works will be projected onto the Western Province Building, Groote Kerk and even shop windows on Long Street, again culminating in multiple screenings on Church Square with films by Tankiso Mamabolo, Charl Johan Lingenfelder and others.
Programme 3 runs from 14-15 May 2021 and brings the Company’s Garden alive with video projections and performances.
Programme 4 will take place in the daytime outside the Cape Town Station on 22 May 2021. From 13h00, there will be an outdoor performance by Aphiwe Mphahleni designed to engage foot traffic that is en route to and from this transport hub. Part of Programme 4 is a site-specific artwork by well-known multi-disciplinary artist Thania Petersen of WHATIFTHEWORLD gallery. Her work will cover the inside of a taxi with sound and video projection.
Programme 5 consists of artworks designed for billboards and posters. These will be installed across the city from 28 May 2021 onwards.
Programme 6 comprises 4 different audio works available via Infectingthecity.com. The works run from 4 June 2021 onwards.
Programme 7 consists of a series of new digital works that can be viewed online via Infectingthecity.com and social media from 11 June 2021 onwards.
Programme 8 will recap the festival via Infectingthecity.com/2021, social media and Cape Town TV. Excerpts of the full programme will be made available in stills and video format from 18 June onwards.
PROGRAMME 1 land, body, spirit
Sat 8 & Sun 9 May – Video Projection | Performance
18h30-19h30 Walk About (Films on a Loop)
- SPIRIT MBA (Open House, Long Street) Durational Performance
- NALEDI MAJOLA (Open House, Long Street)
- MUD & FIRE PARABLES (Shop Windows, 161 Long Street and on Western Province Building, corner of Long and Wale Street)
- DANIEL COLE (Slave Lodge, corner of Wale and Adderley Street)
- BUHLEBEZWE SIWANI (Groote Kerk, Bureau Street)
19h30-21h00 Settle Down (Church Square, corner of Bureau and Parliament Street)
- KAMVA Collective (Film)
- MATSHELANE XHAKHAZA (Film)
- MARLIN ZOUTMAN (Performance)
- LOREN LOUBSER (Film)
- LUKHANYISO SKOSANA (Film)
- DANIEL COLE AND AYESHA MUKADAM (Film)
- KWASUKASUKELA ART COLLECTIVE (Performance)
PROGRAMME 2 locked in, looking out
Tues 11 & Wed 12 May – Film Projection
18h30-19h30 Walk About (Films on a Loop)
- LOUISE COETZER (Shop Window, 161 Long Street)
- ALEXANDRA NALEDI HOLTMAN (Shop Window, 148 Long Street)
- MANUELA HOLZER (Shop Window, 148 Long Street)
- YASMINE CALASSE (Western Province Building, corner Long and Wale Street)
- YAZEED KAMALDIEN (Western Province Building, corner Long and Wale Street)
19h30-21h00 Settle Down (Church Square, corner Bureau and Parliament Street)
- TANKISO MAMABOLO
- CARLA FONSECA
- SIPHUMEZE KHUNDAYI
- UNUSUAL BONES
- ELVIS SIBEKO
- CHARL-JOHAN LINGENFELDER
PROGRAMME 3 labels.touch.me
Fri 14 & Sat 15 May – Video Projection | Performance
18h30-19h30 Walk About (Company’s Garden, Queen Victoria Road)
- SIYA UMLILO NGCOBO (Delville Wood Memorial)
- SABELO SOKO (Jan Smuts Statue)
- MALIK NTONE EDJABE (South African National Gallery Stairs)
- WEZILE MGIBE (South African National Gallery Stairs)
19h30-21h00 Settle Down (Lawns and Amphitheatre)
- FIGURE OF 8 DANCE COLLECTIVE (Small Lawn)
- SBONAKALISO NDABA (Large Lawn)
- CARBON (WANDILE DLAMINI)
- NADINE MACKENZIE
- STRIPPERROKE CAPE TOWN
- ODWA BONGO
- LLEWELLYN MNGUNI
PROGRAMME 4 commute remember commute
Sat 22 May – Performance | Installation
13h00 Cape Town Station
- APHIWE MPHAHLENI (Front of Cape Town Station)
- THANIA PETERSEN (Inside taxi at various locations on the Cape Flats, details available on request)
From 28 May – Billboards | Posters | Installation
- DAVID MANN (Location to be confirmed)
- STEPHANIE FICHARDT (Location to be confirmed)
- LHOLA AMIRA (King Langalibalele Avenue [previously Washington Avenue], Langa)
- TONI GISELLE STUART (Slave Lodge)
From 4 June – Audio Works
- SARAH ROBYN FARRELL
- NOMCEBISI MOYIKWA & MLONDIWETHU DUBAZANE
- NIGEL VERMAAS
- DENISE ONEN
From 11 June – Online Digital Works
Location: www.infectingthecity.com & Social media
- MYER TAUB
- JULIA RAYNHAM
- TARYN MILLAR, AARTI SHAH & SARAH CAIRNS
- MAGANTHRIE PILLAY
- REPAIRS AND PARTS
From 18 June – Online
Location: http://infectingthecity.com/2021/, Social Media & Cape Town TV
- Excerpts (stills and video) of all works.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE PROGRAMME IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE
CONSULT THE WEBSITE REGULARLY ESPECIALLY ON THE DAY BEFORE THE EVENT