Durban launches arts and design festival

Same Differences directed by Angela Harvey is part of Durban's inaugural Arts & Design Digital Festival. (Supplied)

Same Differences directed by Angela Harvey is part of Durban's inaugural Arts & Design Digital Festival. (Supplied)

The festival, launching this weekend, is aimed at code heads, artists, techsters, designers, writers, gamers or simply lovers of all things digital and art-soaked from fashion design to animation to flash films to selfie-culture.

From 3D printers creating artworks to digital QR coding exhibitions, the festival will be an experimental creative playground for students every year and will reflect the creative talent of the students and the creative staff. The concept is to create a professional and contemporary space for Durban University of Technology (DUT) students to exhibit and expand their creative portfolios and engage as dynamic young creative entrepreneurs contributing towards the future of South Africa’s creative economy.

The festival programme includes a Digital QR code exhibition, an interactive fashion photo booth, fashion video installations, interactive installations, a digital short film and flash film festival, digital performance art, creative coding workshops, digital videos by graphic design students and a light painting workshop using cell phones to glow sticks to create digital images. 

For design-savvy shoppers the creative entrepreneurs taking part in a DIY (Design it Yourself) Pop-Up Art Store are selling students work from fashion to full-colour digital prints on cushions and tote bags to original jewellery designs. There will be original contemporary African designs in furniture to digitally generated illustrations by the Graphic Design department. 

‘Sharing creative knowledge’
The festival philosophy is about highlighting and celebrating the sincere notion of ‘sharing’ as in sharing creative knowledge, creating meaningful collaborations based on sharing, collaboration and experimentation.
Key is creative exploration of the interdisciplinary through the digital medium and through performance art, fashion, film and installations. The idea is to aim in creating art installations that offer a multi-sensory experience which encourage creative and dynamic interaction so expect animation workshops to a creative coding workshop with graphic design student Jenna-Leah Turpin.

On the main live performance stage expect popping and locking by Riyaad Nakooda and original live music by Black Math, The Sisters, Gugz and The Bam Bam, K-bomb and Meth Breathe. A crew of video tech students from Equatorial New Guinea perform as Mindcoast ISA with Mr Bring the Swagg to the People and Young African dream whipping up some live hip-hop in Spanish, French and English.

Art for Humanity will engage with the Bill of Rights and printmaking students will cross-pollinate poetry with art. There will be an open Poetry and Music Mic, hip-hop dance melting with izangoma from students and there’s a digital excerpt from Dance Umbrella by young dance choreographer Mdu Mtshali and two plays, Same Differences directed by Angela Harvey at Steve Biko Campus in the Courtyard Theatre and The Antidote in the Arthur Smith Hall at DUT City Campus directed by Debbie Lutge from the drama department.  

Imagine a City Campus Student arts festival where the creative concept is to remix, to explore, experiment, recontextualise and use visual metaphors for the festival theme: 20th anniversary of democracy. It also includes dialogue and discussion sessions around entrepreneurship, internet security and crossing boundaries. The partnership with Pecha Kucha promotes the sharing of ideas and images. 

Issues creatively explored at this festival range from issues of identity to sexuality to freedom of expression to the meaning of freedom and democracy. Students have explored a cross-pollination of creative ideas across arts, design and performance departments from Fashion designers working with graphic design students or video artists working with Journalism students. In launching this festival, DUT is positioning themselves in a new healthy direction to become a more dynamic, contemporary, engaging, interdisciplinary, technologically sussed arts campus.

The Arts & Design Digital Festival takes place on Friday September 12 at 5pm - 9pm and Saturday September 13 at 12pm - 10pm at the DUT City Arts Campus, corner of Pixley KaSema (West Street) and Julius Nyerere Streets (Warwick Street), Durban. Entrance is free. 

For more information visit DUTDigifest

Suzy Bell is the festival curator of the Arts & Design Digital Festival

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