Altofest was born to Give Rise To a community that generates critical thinking, that is constantly alert to every attempt of the system to impose top-down, standardized cultural proposals. A community that is able to recognize culture as a primary good, fulfilling a daily need. We try to insert a process which traverses all the social elements of the urban fabric, and connects them in dialogue. This connection comes from the presence of an external, foreign vision, that expresses itself in the plurality of artistic languages that are hosted in Altofest’s programme. These semantic interferences give the community the opportunity to speak to each other in a neutral language, to meet in a shared space of risk.
Following this vision, we located in the concepts of “proximity” and “gift” the keys to conceive the structure of Altofest.
Since 2011, every year, in different areas of the city, Naples’ citizens become Altofest’s space donors, welcoming national and international artists into their private spaces, offering them the gift of their hospitality and accommodation.
These private and intimate places (apartments, terraces, basements, courtyards, whole buildings, artisan shops) become spaces for artistic residencies, where each artist will re-qualify one of their artworks in dialogue with and in relation to the citizen’s daily lived experience. After the residency, the same spaces are opened to the audience.
This proximity exposes both the donor and the artist to a mutual lack of ownership: the former losing objects and spaces, the latter losing the possession of the artwork.
The gift originates a mechanism in which one expropriation naturally invokes and claims for another expropriation.
The work is therefore “displaced”, deprived of the expected conditions of the formal space where it was born. The work will inhabit totally new spaces, geometries and memories, calling the artist to reconsider its structure, its essence and its form in relation to the space and all other relations passing through the space.
Expropriation, displacement, are usually perceived as traumatic conditions, but in Altofest they become the possibility of artistic and human regeneration. What was private is no longer owned, turning instead into a shared intimacy.
The audience, also welcomed in this intimate space, is exposed to an encounter in which they in turn are called to offer a gift: their responsible gazes.
The whole “fest” is conceived and built as a shared work extended through the space of the city: the artistic direction sets every proposal in relation with citizens and their spaces, following a unified dramaturgy, which traces the path of Altofest as one single piece.
The curatorial approach that shapes the “fest” pays meticulous attention to the one-to-one relationship between artist and citizen.
The generative potential of this encounter can expand to the whole system of relations in which everyone moves: infiltrating the different levels of inhabiting a place – the area, the house, the clothes and the skin of those who lived this experience, infecting the common use of the words that are spoken. Altofest gives rise to a common space, a suspended geography, to be constantly re-created, it is a project of experimental sociality.
Altofest’s development is followed by the gaze and analysis of the Critic Panel (‘Osservatorio Critico’, OCr), an autonomous organism, gathering experts from different fields of knowledge (critics, artists, researchers, curators). Their role is to constantly create a space for questioning the aesthetic processes and dynamics of participation activated by Altofest. The Critic Observatory moves through the spaces of the festival, starting daily discussions with the audience and artists, to create the tools for living and sharing an aesthetic experience.
Every edition of Altofest is opened with Texture, a platform for dialogue among international experts about cultural practices and artistic visions of human/urban regeneration.
Altofest is made and curated according to the principles of the poetic and creative methodology of TeatrInGestAzione, moved by the urgency of freeing performative actions from a merely spectacular context, and keeping constant contact with the theoretical reflection which is inseparable from every artistic practice.