Infecting The City is an annual public arts festival that aims to bring the arts out of the confines of theatres and galleries into the spaces that people inhabit everyday in the city centre. This year’s iteration of the festival, which included live music, dance, videos, puppets, poems and many other forms of visual arts, ran from March 9 to 14. Each day was curated according to a specific theme: “Ways of Belonging”, “Crossing Over and About”, “What We Deserve”, “Exorcising the Ghosts” and “Ways of Seeing and Ways of Being”.This was my first time being at an arts festival and I was quite excited to see what it had in store for me. On the third day of Infecting the City, which was curated according to the theme “Exorcising The Ghosts”, I went to the city to see Surface Passing, Slinky Love, an I Am A Sex Worker drama pieces and The British Coat of Arms.
My day started with a silent film called Surface Passing which was played at Golden Acre. It infused the sound of the city with that of music, which introduced me to a new way of watching a film, as the score of the film was being performed live.
Slinky Love was performed at St. George’s Mall. The piece, which was performed by Bedlam Oz, demonstrated through the use of slinkies, that love, even when slow, is beautiful.
The slinkies had people inside of them and I was very intrigued, because of how accurately the movements of slinkies were portrayed by the performers. The audience displayed a range of emotions, from distrust from the little kids, to amazement from the adults. It did get weird when the two slinkies created a baby, but it was wonderful and the audience erupted into applause when it was finished.
Another item I watched was the I Am A Sex Worker piece by the Umzekelo Drama Group. It was an eye-opening piece about the treatment sex workers receive and in particular transexual and homosexual sex workers. It also tried to teach people about how they should not stigmatise sex workers because of their choice of profession. The message behind the drama group’s performance was a compelling one, one which hopefully resonated with those that were watching.The last piece I saw was the British Coat of Arms. It was an interactive piece that required people to stick their heads through the coat of arms. Although hesitant, many went up to it and started taking pictures. Who could refuse the chance to replace the face of the Queen? Judging by the number of people who went up to have their pictures taken, nobody.
My overall experience of Infecting The City was a positive one. All the pieces I watched left a lasting impression on me. The music played at Surface Passing was exquisite and enchanting, Slinky Love had me mesmerised and the I Am A Sex Worker drama piece got me thinking about the ill treatment of LGBTI sex workers. The British Coat of Arms fed into my vanity by inviting me to take pictures. All in all, Infecting the City was incredible.
Images by Niamh Walsh-Vorster (@niamhhey)