After months of preparation, the second edition of the Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival is but a few hours away. This year, the organizers of D-CAF have acquired the talents of musicians, performers and artists to form what has shaped up to be an exciting schedule of unique arts and culture events. Following what was an experimental first festival, this year's proceedings have been built on a clear vision, bringing in some truly one-of-a-kind acts – but what exactly is in store? Here are Cairo 360's stand-out favourites.
The first event comes courtesy of French/Spanish dance company, Man Drake, who – under the tutelage of choreographer, Toméo Vergès, will perform Anaromia Publica at Falaki Theatre for two nights; a showpiece based on the physicality of the human body. Later on the opening day, D-CAF delivers its first dose of music, with Egyptian electro-clash group, Wetrobots < 3 Bosaina and German electronic musicians, Byetone, taking to the stage of Sherazade.
Friday 5th sees the first part of Urban Visions; an outdoor contemporary dance performance that will take place in front of the Egyptian Stock Market. Meanwhile, Radio Cinema (Radio Theatre) hosts the first collection of D-CAF's All Night Cinema series, which tonight will screen a trio of acclaimed films from the region of West Africa – till 4AM! In addition, UK theatre company, Bootworks, are set to perfrom The Incredible Book-Eating Boy at Viennoise Hotel over both Friday and Saturday, in addition to book-making workshop for 4-7 year olds.
On Sunday 7th, InterLAB Cairo-Dresden launches at Medrar. Having debuted in Cairo in February, the interactive project pits five artists from Egypt and Germany against each other as they explore artificial emotional technology – sounds complicated.
The following day, on Monday 8th, more cinema comes via the Goethe Institute's screening of Ivorian film, Burn it Up Djassa (2012); a fictional account of a young man struggling to find his way through life in the Ivorian capital of Abidjan. This is followed on the next day by a screening of Senegalese film, Boul Falle, the Way of Fight, which looks at the violent aftermath of the 1988 Senegalese presidential elections.
There are more fun and games at the Goethe Institute on Wednesday 10th where Phillipe Lacôte will speak about the state of West African cinema. Meanwhile, events on Thursday 11th get the weekend off to a good start at Falaki Theatre, where Mustafa Benfodil's End/Igne is performed by Algerian theatre troupe, Compagnie l'Ajouad. Elsewhere, hip-hop is the order of the night at Sherazade, where US artist, Khadafi Dub, is part of a line-up of live music that also includes Syrian rappers DeeKay and Sham MCs.
In collaboration between Egypt's own Dia Hamed and Spanish artists, Los Amoros, Augmented Airspaces is a technological piece that allows Cairenes to watch live images of the city taken by a drone that will roam freely around Downtown Cairo.
Jumping to Saturday 13th, Falaki Theatre hosts one of the most anticipated performances of the festival – WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT. Nassim Soleimanpour, who has been banned from leaving his home in Iran, has sent his play on a world tour, including a showing as part of D-CAF.
Sunday 14th, meanwhile, sees the long-awaited screening of Hassan Khan's Blind Ambition; a film shot entirely on a mobile phone – madness. Khan will also be present for a Q&A after the screening. We turn our attention back to Falaki Theatre on Tuesday 16th, where Dutch theatre group, Hotel Modern, perform The Great War; a play considered to be a landmark in European theatre.
Between Wednesday 17th and Saturday 20th, another of this year's mind-blowing events takes place – SMSlingshot. The interactive piece, created by German art collective, VR/Urban, allows participants to sling virtual messages in public space via an actual slingshot.
The weekend of the 18th begins with more live music at Sherazade, as local shaabi favourite, Sadat Rap, performs, as do Lebanese hip-hoppers, El Rass+MUNMA. The weekend continues on Friday 19th with another All Night Cinema, this time screening documentaries about peaceful social movements and civil disobedience around the world.
Speaking of which, Radio Cinema/Theatre hosts a screening of Underground/On the Surface on Sunday 21st ; an Egyptian documentary that sees Egyptian filmmaker, Selma El Tarzi explore the rise of shaabi music.
Local street artists, Ganzeer, teams up with Yasmine Elayat for Face the Vitrine which runs from Monday 22nd to the end of the festival on Sunday 28th. The interactive piece installs a projection of a face on a shop-front window, sneakily engulfing passersby in the installation.
As you can see, there's plenty to see, hear and get involved in, but remember; this is just a snapshot of the festivities to come – check out the Cairo 360 events calendar for more!