Innovation at DUT’s DigiFest

A moment from last year’s DigiFest at the Durban University of Technology. This and all other pictures featured here are by Erin Wulfsohn.

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BY BILLY SUTER

A NOVEMBER public event in Durban will celebrate the creative spirit through multimedia projects, from disciplines such as visual and performing arts, while promoting collaborations across art, science and technology.

It is DigitFest 4, the annual arts and design digital festival, to be held from November 6 to 11 at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) on the Berea. It will feature a series of live art activations, innovations, exhibitions, discussions, workshops, music, poetry, dance and drama as well as craft and street food markets.

“The theme this year is ‘glitch’ which informs the content of the fest that will engage, contest, celebrate and question the idea of malfunctions, technical mishaps and imperfections in systems,” says Dr Rene Smith, the festival director and executive dean for the faculty of Arts and Design.

“Curated projects will speak to the disruption and subversion of formats, spaces, places and technologies. It is about questioning and going beyond traditional notions of art in an interdisciplinary, multimedia world, where design and creativity merge and interact with science and technology broadly.”

Opening night, on November 6, will highlight a collaborative, live audiovisual performance co-ordinated by Johannesburg-based electronic artist, cultural activist and producer, Marcus Neustetter. It will feature a selection of local artists.

Another moment from last year’s DigiFest at the Durban University of Technology.

Sue Gollifer, the chair of the ISEA international board, will introduce ISEA as a precursor to ISEA2018 (International Symposium on Electronic Art), which takes place in Durban next year. The Alumni and Development Department will be running a competition to pledge support for the Missing Middle campaign.

In a new move, the festival will host a series of events across venues in Durban. On November 7, the KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood will host the DUT Fine Art Department exhibition, and an installation by Bongumenzi Ngobese which  examines elements of sound, which address issues of context through video. The night will features a special performance by Zimbabwean multi-media artist, Robert Machiri.

“An evening of style takes place at the DUT Brickfield Campus on November 8, with a multi-media fashion experience featuring leading innovations in the fashion and textiles department,” says a spokesman.

The event will feature a special guest DJ, the name of whom has yet to be announced. B-Tech students’ final portfolio exhibitions will be on display and student-run, pop-up shops will have jewellery and craft on sale.

“A breakaway session on November 9, at the Green Camp, a creative hub of urban farming and green rehabilitated art in Umbilo, will features the premiere of the film, Street Art and Mural Art as Visual Activism in Durban, by artist Mook Lion.

A Sketch, an installation of bricolage video work by Glenn Adendorff and Rob Da Banka , will close the night.

“The city campus explodes with creativity from 10am on Friday, November 10, with a host of prominent speakers in the world of arts, design and digital media.

A scene from last year’s DigiFest in Durban.

“In the courtyard, student entrepreneurs will showcase their products and innovations. Exhibitions will be open throughout the afternoon and will feature projects from various departments, including graphic design, jewellery, interior design, journalism and video technology, as well as individual exhibitions from range of young local artists working in the digital arts.”

The Talk Fest at the city campus that day will include speakers Sheetal Cross (SA) – Virtual Reality, Kirstin Wiedow (Namibia) – NUST-DUT Polar Project, Mari Pete (SA) – Glitches in ELearning, Prof Oliviera (Brazil) – LabInter Project, Tegan Bristow (SA) – Fakugesi Festival, Arjon Dunnewind (Netherlands) – Frankenstein in the Garden of Eden.

The Makerspace is to host a workshop that will allow a fixed number of participants the opportunity to collaborate and build doodle bots. This session will be open to all, on a first-come basis, and submissions can be done via digifest@dut.ac.za.

The day culminates with the popular PechaKucha, a gathering of inspired minds who present ideas, thoughts, dreams and creative insights. This year some of the speakers include Llwellyn Makhanya (photographer), Richard Gevers (civic data activist), Mark Stuart (developer), Brad Vause (musician and App developer), Zwelisha Giampietri (multi-media designer), Sihle Mthembu (iournalist), Bylwansta (designer and rapper) and others.

“On Saturday, November 11, the Steve Biko Campus becomes the focus with live performances in the form of poetry and open-mic sessions, a cross-platform theatrical piece entitled Duped, and a hi-hop battle closing the evening with a great line-up of music by ByLwansta, Gaba, Rude Boyz, Moonchild, Sibot and Toyota and Sparks Bantwana,” adds the spokesman.

A highlight of DigiFest 4 will be The Digital Battle, which will take place at the DUT Gallery on November 11. This is a live, head-to-head design tournament where participants show their skills in front of an audience and compete for prizes.

The competitors will engage in a battle of their choice ,including 2D design, animation, character design and video editing. Entries are now open and close on November 8. Visit www.designbattles.co.za/durban.html to sign up.

“We are pleased to be presenting DigiFest 4 again this year, as it provides a valuable opportunity for students to showcase their work, and to collaborate with professionals and other creatives,” says Steve Jones, festival manager.

“We aim to build an event that stands tall on the Durban calendar and engages the highest level of the work from around the world to be presented.”

All are welcome and entrance is free, with the exception of November 11 events at Steve Biko ca[us,  where tickets will be free for students and R40 for the public.

The full programme can be found on the website: digifest.dut.ac.za


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