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For the first time, South Africa’s longest-running public arts festival has included a digital component, making its progressive content available online to anyone anywhere, at no cost. By expanding its programming to include digital-first works, the 2021 (Un)Infecting the City festival, which is presented by the University of Cape Town’s Institute for Creative Arts (ICA), continues to uphold its public-hearted spirit by making new public work accessible in new ways. Traditionally held within the Cape Town city limits, the festival now opens its arms to the virtual world.

Says Director of the ICA, Jay Pather: “The new possibilities offered by our digital programmes are numerous and advantageous. The festival’s artists now have the potential of gaining far more exposure as we’re reaching a much broader audience, one that stretches right across the country, and the globe. The online programme also functions as an enduring archive and valuable resource that allows access to powerful, engaging works that express, explore and interrogate our times.”

(Un)Infecting the City’s multi-disciplinary artworks reflect on historical and contemporary narratives relevant to the urban context and its people. This year’s festival focuses on the psychological and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Says 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.”

Viewers can experience and engage with the online line-up from 1-30 June 2021. Four purely digital programmes – programmes 3, 6, 7 and 8 – will all be available via www.infectingthecity.com and constitute the second half of the festival (which launched on 8 May 2021 with a series of screenings and performances in Cape Town).

Here’s what the global community of online festival-goers can look forward to:

Programme 6 comprises 4 audio works available via www.infectingthecity.com. The works run from 4 June 2021 and have been created by Sarah Robyn Farrell, Nomcebisi Moyikwa and Mlondiwethu Dubazane, Nigel Vermaas and Denise Onen.

Programme 3 is entitled “labels.touch.me” and launches on 9 June with live-streamed music by Feelings Radio Project and features video works by Siya Umlilo Ngcobo, Sabelo Soko, Wezile Mgibe, Figure of 8 Dance Collective, Nadine Mckenzie, Stripperoke Cape Town, Odwa Bongo and Llewellyn Mnguni.

Programme 7 consists of a series of new digital works that can be viewed online via www.infectingthecity.com and Social Media, from 11 June 2021. Participating artists include Myer Taub, Julia Raynham, Taryn Millar, Aarti Shah, Sarah Cairns, Tracy Megan, Maganthrie Pillay, and Repairs and Parts.

Programme 8 will recap the festival via www.infectingthecity.com and Social Media. Excerpts of the full programme will be made available in stills and video format from 18 June 2021.

For the full programme, please see http://infectingthecity.com/2021/ Please note that the
programme may be subject to change. Follow the festival on Social Media via https://www.instagram.com/infectingthecity_ica/?hl=en

For more information on the ICA, visit www.ica.uct.ac.za/.

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