The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Hancher presents ‘Love in Exile’ and ‘In These Times,’ an artistic collaboration for the Infinite Dream Festival

The performance featured artists Arooj Aftab, Shahzad Ismaily, Vijay Iyer, and Makaya McCraven at the University of Iowa’s Hancher Auditorium on the evening of Oct. 12.
Photo contributed by Hancher Auditorium

Hancher hosted Arooj Aftab, Shahzad Ismaily, and Vijay Iyer on Thursday to perform songs from their album, “Love in Exile,” and Makaya McCraven to play songs from his album, “In These Times.” 

The performance started at 7:30 p.m. and was a part of the Infinite Dreams Festival, a multidisciplinary festival that Hancher is hosting from Oct. 11-21.  

This is the first year that Hancher is running the Infinite Dreams Festival, although planning for the festival began last year. Hancher Executive Director Andre Perry said the festival hopes to bring together different kinds of artists through its interdisciplinary focus. 

“It’s almost like a super intense version of what we’re trying to do all year by having so much happen and such like a small frame of time,” Perry said. 

Perry shared that the University of Iowa is a campus that has always been creative, and the UI wanted to host a series that would reflect how much the community cares about art and creativity. 

“Thematically, the festival is this open question and reflection on the American story and American dreams and which, of course, there’s not a singular right answer. There’s just so many people who come at that in a different way,” Perry said. “It was kind of like an open door for artists to come with their perspective or their approach around that question.” 

“Love in Exile” and “In These Times,” in particular, represented the thematic American story and American dream, making them excellent performances for the festival’s lineup. Perry shared that some of McCraven’s work is reflective of American culture and the many cultures that make up America. 

“I think it makes for a really interesting night of musicians who are kind of on the edge, doing things that are less ordinary in the musical world,” Perry said.

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“Love in Exile” was a heavier album with melancholic tones and impressive vocals, and it was followed by the more upbeat and fast-paced tempo of “In These Times,” resulting in a performance that guided the audience through a multitude of emotions in one evening. 

The Infinite Dream Festival works not just to display the themes and goals of Hancher, but to serve as a learning opportunity for students. 

The performers were given opportunities to directly engage with students, allowing art students the chance to meet with professionals in their field, and non-art students the chance to engage with art in ways they may have not before. 

“I think it’s really important to just be part of the adventure and take chances on things. That’s something that we always encourage,” Perry said. “I think there’s a real magic of just going to see things and not totally knowing what you’re getting into.”

The performers were met with an engaged and enthusiastic audience of all ages, many of whom couldn’t help but nod their heads to the music. 

“It was mesmerizing, I was just sitting here, being encapsulated by the whole moment of the environment. It was very pleasing,” attendee Rachel Schneberger said, who has lived in Iowa City for the past ten years. 

Schneberger saw an advertisement for the festival over the summer and immediately found the concept interesting. 

For Josie Thurmond, who moved to Iowa City this past year, the performance was an opportunity to explore what the community has to offer and the reach of the campus. She said she was excited to learn that her new city is appealing to international and local performers. 

“I feel like ‘ethereal’ is the perfect word for it,” Thurmond said. “I feel like it would have been really easy for them to compete with each other because they all had a unique vibe throughout, but they complemented each other very well.” 

The Infinite Dream Festival will continue into the weekend and next week with various performances and other events that will continue to explore the American Dream and identity, and Hancher hopes to make the festival an annual tradition.

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About the Contributor
Emma Gaughan
Emma Gaughan, Arts Reporter
Emma Gaughan is a second-year student at the University of Iowa, studying psychology and criminology, as well as completing a writing certificate. She is from West Des Moines, where she developed her love of both writing and the arts.