time to begin infecting the city!

Submitted by sproutnewb on Wed, 2011-02-16 12:37

Infecting the cityInfecting the city

Beginning Monday 21st, it's time for Spier's fourth Infecting The City. For those who are not familiar with it: never fear, whilst contagious it is not likely to be life threatening.

Infecting The City is Africa's only Public Arts Festival and it involves transforming the public spaces of Cape Town into wonderful works of art that will help us view the city from a different and often informative perspective.

This years theme, 'Treasure', is about appreciating the wonderful gifts that Cape Town has to offer: from the wonderful variety of cultures and historical buildings to the forgotten natural resources and seemingly useless waste...this years festival is definitely worth a wander.

We've picked out a couple of events, tours and installations with an eco-friendly angle and listed them below but if you would like to see what else is happening go to Infecting the City for more information.

Talking Heads: Making the future
When: Wed 23 Feb at 19h30
Where: IZIKO South African National Gallery
Duration: 120 mins
Tickets: R100
Book: Felicia on 021 422 0468 or at the Festival Info Desk

We live in a moment in which the choices we make could impact the world for generations. All around us, in isolated pockets, thinkers and experts are considering, or dreaming about, the future.
For one evening only, you are invited to engage with a live Wikipedia of fascinating African thought leaders and mavericks in the beautiful surrounds of the IZIKO South African National Gallery.
48 experts from a wide range of fields, will gather to share reflections and revelations with you. Their brief is to look into the depths of their realms of expertise, and to respond to the topic: ‘Making the Future’. A bell marks the time and you move from table to table engaging in four intimate 20 minute conversations with a social activist, a nuclear physicist, a poet, a politician … who knows who you will meet and how your views of the future may be shaped? Book immediately: only 96 tickets are available for this mind-blowing affair. Dress with flair. Wine and tasty snacks will be served.

The Jewel Boxes
When: Mon 21 Feb – Sat 26 Feb
Where: See Festival map for more details

In several nooks and crannies of the Cape people are busy as bees crafting the stuff that we throw in the garbage into gorgeous designer products. These are snapped up by appreciative shoppers and collectors both locally and around the world.Inspired by the work of three of these initiatives that train and employ skilled people from disadvantaged communities, Infecting The City invited them to design the facades of the ‘Jewel Boxes’. These are the three glittering stages that move around the City displaying ‘The Jewels’. Feast your eyes!

The Kommetjie Environmental Awareness Group (KEAG) decided to take its litter clean-up project to a another level. It commissioned artist Monique Fagan to assist with producing hand-crafted products from the waste collected from the area’s stunning beaches. Ilithalomsa (isiXhosa for ‘a new dawn’) was born, employing the skills of people living nearby to produce a range of funky products, from placemats to bags and chandeliers.

In line with the theme for this year’s Festival, Alison Coutras believes in seeking out treasures in unlikely places. It is this motivation that inspired her to establish Kunye (isiXhosa for ‘forward together’), harnessing the skills of unemployed women from Cape Town’s townships to design and make beautiful hand-crafted products made of recycled materials. ‘I wanted to work with people and materials that society didn’t think had much to offer,’ she says.

Since 2002 Mielie’s Adri Schütz has grown Mielie from a one-woman operation to a brand that now gainfully employs close to fifty people. Mielie’s best known work are jewel-coloured tapestries, cushion covers and handbags made out of knotted fabric scraps. The Mielie hive of creative industry runs from the quaint Molteno Village in Newlands, but most of the striking work they produce is made in the homes of the project’s crafters.

Starts: Mon 21 at 09h00, Molteno Resevoir
Ends: Sat 26, The Sea, Duncan Docks
Duration: Throughout the week

Leaving a broad pink trail from the Molteno Dam in Gardens, down Government Avenue and Adderley Street to the sea, Durban-based architect and public artist, doung Dala, spends the Festival week marking the hidden course of the Vaarste River. This is one of four rivers that flows off Table Mountain and vanishes under the tarmac of the City. These rivers watered the massive cattle herds of the first nation Khoi people, and drew Dutch settlers here in the 17th Century to establish gardens to feed passing ships on the Spice Route. The river was dammed by the Dutch, and canalised to form the Herengracht. The English covered it over, and renamed it Adderley Street. Only recently has much of this water been channelled to irrigate the Cape Town Stadium, but beneath the City millions of litres of valuable mountain water still run into the sea. Bringing together the ritual and the political, doung will map the invisible river with river pebbles daubed with an environmentally safe pink powder (ingomanamakosi) that is used by sangomas as a binding element during the process of making umuthi (medicine). For more information about the rivers under Cape Town, see the Reclaim Camissa website.

Slices of life
When: Mon 21 Feb – Sat 26 Feb
Where: At the Festival hub, that is, The Cape Town Station Forecourt

The statistics are shocking: residents, visitors and businesses in Cape Town generate almost 2kg of rubbish each a day. That amounts to several millions of tons of garbage daily. And the majority of this ends up in the City’s three landfill sites where it will take years to break down. Much of this garbage is recyclable. So in effect, we are trashing a fortune and poisoning the Mother City at the same time. Visit the Station Forecourt each day of the Festival to see how a team of artists deals with these critical issues. With the help of one of Cape Town’s main recycling projects, Wasteplan, one weeks’ garbage from 200 Cape households has been gathered, cleaned and sorted into different types of recyclable material: glass, plastic, paper and packaging, and tin cans. The garbage is collected from 40 houses in five different income areas: Camps Bay/Clifton, Pinelands, Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain and the Cape Town CBD. On the first day of Infecting The City, these twenty piles of ‘Slices of Life’ will be displayed on the Festival Hub: an intriguing insight into our lifestyles. You can wonder around studying and comparing what various communities consume, and how much valuable matter they chuck out.
Then, throughout the Festival week, eight artists who are committed to making us aware of this destructive behaviour of our society, will transform this material into artworks. Come and watch their progress everyday as they build their monuments of Wasted Treasure.

Urban Diamonds
When: Mon 21- Sat 26, all day
Where: Video booth on the Festival Hub

For the multi-award-winning Swiss-based video artist Peter Aerschmann, coming to South Africa for the first time presents him with infinite possibilities when it comes to producing another one of his captivating animated videos. ‘I am always working in the street, and being in a completely new country I see everything as new and interesting,’ says the artist whose work focuses largely on everyday street life. And with the animated video he will be creating for Infecting The City he will be continue exploring this theme. Says Aerschmann: ‘I will try and find people and objects in the streets that are undervalued; people and things that one wouldn’t notice at first sight but that are actually quite essential.’ The video, which runs in a loop, can be viewed all day in the Video Booth on the Festival Hub.

Relics of Place
When:Mon 21 – Fri 25 at 10h30
Start: Festival Information Desk, on the Festival Hub
Book: Festival Information Desk

Caron van Zeil of ‘Reclaim Camissa’ will whip a minibus load of people around the outskirts of the CBD for 90 minutes daily on an evocative tour of historical sites connected to Cape Town’s natural water supply. Cape Town became a refreshment post due to its location and sweet, fresh water … few locals and visitors, however, know about the Little Venice that lies underneath the City of Cape Town, waiting for you to discover and explore.
While doing her Masters in Environmental Planning and Landscape Architecture a few years ago, Caron found open land pockets that were green all year round. ‘I was intrigued, started a search in the archives, read old documents and studied historical maps. That is how I came to discover and explore a series of springs and underground waterways around Oranjezicht, Gardens and down to the old shoreline in Strand Street,’ says the founder of the “Reclaim Camissa”. Cape Town used to be referred to as Camissa (‘Place of Sweet Water’) by the Khoi, and was noted as such on old Spanish and Portuguese maps.
Caron will introduce small groups to the CBD’s hidden waterways, take them for a short underground tour, visiting seven different precincts, including Stadtsfontein, a spring that spews over 2.5 million liters of water into the City’s storm water system daily. Each destination has relics of old infrastructure, historical memories and stories to reveal of the Khoi, the slaves, colonial times, and love and buried Treasures…
Places are limited to 10 people per tour, so reserve your place early.

Invisible Gold
When:Mon 21 – Fri 25 at 11h30
Where: Festival Hub, and then through the CBD
Duration: 60 mins

Dancer-choreographer Owen Manamela and his team of dancers, waste management workers, and a musician, climb on a Wasteman garbage truck, and turn the daily rounds of rubbish collection in the CBD into a mobile choreographic intervention that spotlights the men that cart away the City’s tons of waste.
Says Owen: ‘What is the role of the people labelled “Solid Waste”? They fit intrinsically into our urban rhythm. We plan our routes around them. They bag our junk, and we in turn bag them. We barely notice them under their luminous vests, with the odours of their roaring trucks announcing their passing.
The invisibility of these people enables them to be the true observers of a hidden side of our lives. Invisible Gold explores how society is seen from the perspective of Waste Management workers.
There is an irony in their managing of our waste and our simultaneous insistence on their invisibility. They know many of our secrets and yet we disregard of their humanity Fittingly they come from the places the Mother City has classified as wastelands – the Cape Flats and Townships. What would happen if all these valuable workers downed their brooms, their bins, their black bags and disappeared out of sight?’

The Ministry
When: Mon 21 – Fri 26 from 09h00 to 17h00
Sat 26 from 09h00 to 13h00
Where: as and when it happens
Duration: On going

Catch Johannesburg-based photographer and conceptual artist, Nadine Hutton, as she moves around the Cape Town CBD preserving Artefacts of National Importance.
Her new Ministry has issued the following release:
The Government of The Republic of The Western Cape is pleased to announce the Establishment and Implementation of a new Ministry for THe glorious PreservAtion oF the Kultural TReasures of the Mother City (MTHAFKR).
Roles & Functions
The MTHAFKR team of ‘Preservation Experts’ will identify and safeguard the Treasures, old and new, of the Mother City for the duration of Infecting The City Festival. They will procure sites, objects and persons deemed to be treasures and will move to preserve these Treasures with the high tech material Polyvinylidene Chloride also known as ‘cling film’, ‘saran’ (not to be confused with the chemical weapon), ‘cling wrap’ or glad wrap’. We have designated the term ‘Glad Wrap’ in all communications regarding the material to ensure a consistent cheerful tone. Domestic uses of this material have been used to preserve foods to keep them Fresher for Longer. There are in addition Defense aspects to the use of this material as an Airline Theft Preventative. As a major Tourist Destination we must at all costs prevent the loss of our Precious Treasures to Foreigners.
Research conducted by MTHAFKR suggests that the use of Glad Wrap in the Preservation of the Glorious Treasures of the Mother City is sufficient to ‘prevent the permeability of water vapor, flavor and aroma molecules, and oxygen compared to other plastics. The barrier to oxygen prevents spoilage, and the barrier to flavor and aroma molecules helps retain flavor and aroma.’ (Wikipedia)

Floral Kingdom

When: Mon-Fri: 09H00 to 15H00
Where: Festival Hub, cnr. Adderley and Strand Sts.

The Festival has secured the aid of the Central City Improvement District (CCID) to replant the rockeries located on the Strand Street edge of the Forecourt. These gardens will be redeveloped in celebration of the fynbos Treasures of the Cape. ‘We see this greening project as part of the general beautification of the City – the Cape Town Station garden is the start of the Fan Walk to the Stadium where visitors will now be able to enjoy the newly developed Green Point Park,’ says Tasso Evangelinos from CCID. With over 9000 different plant species, the Cape Floral Kingdom is the smallest but richest of the world’s six floral kingdoms.
Stroll over and chat to the students of Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens who will be planting every Festival morning, and admire our Natural Wonders. They’re our birthday present to the Station on its 150th anniversary.

Golden Eggs
Created by: Mafuta Ink
When: Mon 21 – Fri 25 from 09h00 to 17h00; Sat 26 from 09h00 to 13h00
Where: Festival Hub
Duration: Ongoing

A ‘visual confrontation’ is what Lisomlozi ‘Mr. Fuzzy Slippers’ Pikoli is intending to achieve by erecting two shacks in the Cape Town CBD (on the Station Forecourt). The painter and illustrator who, together with architecture student Nolan Oswald, makes up Mafutha Ink, says: ‘We are interested in how middle-class people view shacks as an eye-sore without acknowledging that, as long as we keep underpaying people there will always be shacks.’
The two shacks, titled ‘Egg White’ and ‘Yolk’, will show contrasting realities of shack life.
‘Shacks defy the segregated spatial organisation of urban space,’ say the artists. ‘So we will be infecting the City with that which it relegates to its outskirts. We need shacks like we need cheap labour yet are intent on ignoring the consequences of that need. A kind of ignorance that leaves us angry, uncomfortable, confused and scared! The middle classes live on the strength of the economy but know nothing of their underpaid foundation.’
Aside from these socio-political issues, it is the similarity with street art – their main inspiration – which drew this duo to their subject.
Live painting sessions are scheduled to take place at both shacks during which the artists will ‘dress up like the land evicting red ants employed by the government’. Visit Mafutha Ink at their installation under the trees alongside Adderley Street on the Station Forecourt and chat to the artists about how they see themselves ‘altering the world in which we travel and making it better.’

( categories: )