“I wish for love. I wish for reconciliation with my family. I wish for the man I dream of. I wish I could fly.”
“I wish my mom was alive. I wish there was no xenophobia. I wish for compassion. I wish for peace on earth.”
These were just some of the wishes found flapping on different pieces of paper on a wall on the corner of Hout and Adderley streets as part of the Infecting the City Festival which took place during the week of 13 to 20 February. The growing wall of wishes drew a wide range of people who read the wishes and were clearly moved by the poignancy – and sometimes the humour and honesty – of the wishes which people put up.
Infecting the City is a public arts festival that stages and exhibits thought-provoking and boundary-breaking works in the city of Cape Town’s communal spaces.
This year’s theme for Infecting the City, the third festival of its kind, was Human Rite.
The streets and public spaces of Cape Town came alive as talented creative artists from around the world performed collaborative pieces, put up art installations and did public interventions that “grapple with the knots, scars and wounds of the Cape Town CBD.”
The Wishing Wall was a collective Cape Town artwork made up of a collage of wishes, reflections, opinions, photos, keepsakes and other titbits from the people of Cape Town.
The aim was to create a space for connecting, healing, venting, expressing, enacting, feeling and interacting, and it gave immediate access to the collective thoughts, desires aspirations and needs of Cape Town.
“I wish people are not hungry after 2010. I wish to succeed in life. I wish I could have all the good answers I want. I wish I could pass my matric 2010. I wish I was old. I wish I was done studying. I wish I did not have to wish. I wish I could stick to a decision for more than five moments,” were some of the other wishes which people were honest enough to put out there.
Infecting the City’s Quiet Emergency had Capetonians and visitors wondering, when professional artists joined forces with some of the city’s marginalized people – including street children, sex workers, security guards and street cleaners – in Thibault Square. The Quiet Emergency performance was an experiment in bringing trained and untrained people into a public and uncontrollable space. The interactions unfolded organically as the performers moved around the square, and made for fascinating watching.
Infecting the City attracted more people this year than ever before – and by all accounts it will be as powerful and well-supported next year.