Waterloo Region, It Should Always Be This Way

Brandon Vickerd satelliteIn 2009, I stumbled upon a satellite that had tumbled out of the sky, tracing a dirt patch across the grass in the middle of Victoria Park. What conspired to have this man-made celestial body land in the middle Kitchener of all places? And more importantly, how come no news source was warning people about this object? Where were the RCMP or the FBI or whatever government body in charge of marshalling such instances? The situation seemed perfectly and completely out of control through the calmness surrounding what should be a big event. Turns out that the satellite was an installed sculpture by Brandon Vickerd called Satellite. No panic necessary.

CAFKA transforms the city into a landscape where art happens. Or… where one happens upon art. From a perfect replica of a shopping cart calmly floating about in Victoria Park lake (what shopping cart floats?) to ephemeral projected graffiti on the side of Kitchener City Hall, the streets, alleys, parks, public buildings shift away from the mundanity of everyday and turn into a journey through the unusual in our own backyard.

This year, CAFKA’s theme is “It Should Always Be This Way”. This theme absolutely endorses this artist run festival in its position as a beloved cultural event that has profoundly affected the community. The calibre of the art, the surreal presentation in the element of surprise in seeing a usual landscape made unusual, and the innovative offerings that encourage the mind to meander provides great escape, even if only over a lunch break from work.

This year, CAFKA is joining forces with Open Ears and a new festival of architecture called Building Waterloo Region. The three are joining forces to create a culmination of activity through May and June. This collaboration is pushing new boundaries in the unification of exhibit-based events combined with the performative nature of sound and music.

Open Ears has collaborated in the past with CAFKA with installation based sound events. The building of musical and sound experience through the drawing of talent from all over the world marries perfectly with the installations placed by CAFKA. In the period of a few days, Open Ears will open our minds and palates within the possibilities of sound. The sense of hearing – the one that alerts us to danger, coos us into love affairs, and provides soundtrack to our lives is profoundly transformed in a space of exploration and experimentation. Sound is one of the few senses that can never be turned off. Even when we try to remove sound, it can still be felt through the vibrations it creates. Open Ears plays in this space by building moments in which we can indulge in being present, alert, and in tune with this most captive, and taken for granted sense.

Building Waterloo Region is a naturally positioned festival celebrating development and innovation in the ever evolving liveable cities that are part of the Region. This festival will be located at several institutions and in surprising locations throughout the Region. More details will be released soon, and I can’t wait to explore the schedule being presented by this new endeavour in culture.

You can support CAFKA this in its pursuit of bringing excellent art to the Region of Waterloo in an Indiegogo campaign.

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