Infecting The City

Project Overview

Infecting the City is a free, multi-disciplinary public arts festival that brings artistic excellence, and socially engaged performance and visual art, out of the theatres and galleries and into the communal spaces of two South African cities – Cape Town and Mbombela.

Held annually in Cape Town between 2007 and 2017 and as a biennale beginning in 2019, the Festival includes productions from South African and international talent, and is the longest running public arts festival in the country. It aspires to place the extraordinary, neatly into our lives and convert public space into places that are genuinely for the public.

Why We Do It

The propaganda is that we don’t have the authority to freely express ourselves. Our voice requires permission from someone or something that does. It is our teacher, principal, boss, or the government official who allows us to dance, sing, paint, photograph, write or simply speak. They tell us when we have been selected, picked, or chosen and only then do we stand up.

This of course is a myth, but one we all participate in progressing every time we suppress ourselves and avoid the opportunity to tell our story. At its core, Infecting The City, is intended to disrupt the absurdity that we need permission from anyone to expose our humanity. Our intentions with this festival are to bring curiosity, wonder, beauty, empathy, pain, and new ideas out into the streets for everyone to engage with, and to demonstrate that we all have the right to speak and be heard. With great vulnerability and respect, ITC artists step into the void of public space and attempt for one week to transform our common urban environment into a more complex, dynamic, interesting and welcoming place.

How We Do It

Featuring a combination of new, commissioned and invited works, ITC’s innovative programmes encompass a variety of disciplines including – but not limited to – dance, performance and visual art, music and poetry.

The ITC festival is designed as a route that allows the audience to walk from one performance, installation or “happening” according to a prescribed sequence, and to explore the city along the way. The Cape Town programme is comprised of both day and evening performances, whereas Mbombela consists of day-time programmes only. Although designed as a fixed route, the festival is also built to be happened upon – thereby allowing unsuspecting passers-by to become audience members.

Infecting The City Cape Town has grown each year in terms of the scope of its ambitions and in size, consistently attracting more artists and larger audiences. From its inception in 2008 until the present, ITC Cape Town has grown from 10 productions to 40, from 50 artists to over 300, and from an initial audience size of 5,000 to over 38,000 in 2015. In January 2014, the geographic scope of ITC expanded to include an intervention in the city of Mbombela, Mpumalanga. Given Mbombela’s size, population and the availability of various artistic forms, ITC took a more developmental approach to the festival’s 20 productions in the form of workshops with local artists over an extended period to help mature their art forms and test new ones.

As of 2019 Infecting the City Cape Town transforms from an annual event into a biennale, taking place every two years.

With Thanks