Last week Thursday — October 14th 2021 — saw the kickoff of this year’s Faku’gesi digital arts festival, a hybrid event taking place via a virtual platform in Braamfontein, Tshimologong Precinct.
Framed under the descriptor, phygital experience, the festival will feature an array of renowned African artists from across the continent and, under the curatorial leadership of social sculptor and creative entrepreneur Dillion S Phiri, it will explore the state of digital creativity and innovation in Africa.
This year’s iteration of the border traversing digital festival finds rooting in the theme #Buildcosyouhaveto — a rallying call to creatives across the African continent (especially those creating with and through technology) to build simply because they have to; a creative urge and imaginative necessity.
The past 2 or so years have ushered in social configurations and changes previously unimaginable to us as people organised within nations.
The impacts and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have forced numerous artists to accelerate their practice and innovation in the digital space.
“Over the past 8 years, Faku’gesi has directed efforts to not only celebrating creatives using technology but to creating laboratories and programs that are meant to provide mentorship, advance skills and create global networks for African creatives.”
Featuring all aspects of digital creativity from across the continent, the festival kicked off with 6 digital artists being invited to Tshimologong Precinct to showcase their skills.
Day 1 also highlighted The Art of Non-Fungible Tokens, a panel hosted by the festival curator, Dillion S Phiri, looking at how digital artists are leveraging the shift to the digital world through NFT’s and other mediums.
Today — Tuesday October 19th — sees the festival’s continuation with conversations centred around immersive reality under the event name #ImmersiveJuakali. Led by Nyambura M. Maruingi of Akoia, today’s offering provides an opportunity to explore African extended reality content through the work of a selection of creators working in this mode.
The conversations and accompanying digital exhibition highlights the immersive storytelling and extended reality technologies that are emerging as the field grows across Africa.
As part of the Fak’ugesi Arcade on Wednesday October 20th, the festival will present a 3 day Hackathon aimed at continuing the much needed development of the continent’s gaming landscape as well as contextualise the gap between our audiences and creators.
Friday and Saturday sees a change in tempo and gears as the festival turns to focus on digital music.
From an evening Soundclash featuring musicians located in South Africa and the UK, to a DJ Masterclass by Soft Grapes and sessions unpacking aspects of the creative force, Nandi “Mamakashaka” Dlepu.
To send us off on our way, the festival’s grand finale will feature performances from a line-up of artists including Nonku Phiri.
For more information, please check out the festival programme here!