The "City Lab" of Altofest
A city is a human and architectural system: an arrangement of spaces, a presence or absence of services, and a daily transit of people through different places. All these elements come together to make up The City.
Into this system, Altofest inserts itself as an experimental sociality project, continuously retracing the boundary between what is public and what is private, to create an area of no-ownership. In this new, floating city, the field of possible relations is fertilized by the intrusion of a stranger bringing with them their artistic “corpus”; artist and “space donor” citizen live together, sharing time and space.
It is not only a matter of hosting an artist in a private house: the daily presence of a working artist will contaminate the point of view of everybody living there, usually or occasionally originating a new gaze on the poetic potential immersed in what is considered to be ordinary. The audience, as well, is linguistically infected: while peregrinating from a house to another, it is welcomed into environments that are unknown, even if they may be recognizable thanks to their “domestic” features. The ordinary objects are freed from the usual structure: name-function-meaning.
The citizen is the basic element of the Altofest project, he/she is the core of its structure and foundation, playing the role of maker of the process. His/her role is never user/consumer or addressee. What happens during Altofest is that the citizen takes care of the artwork, and the artist in turn, takes care of the host and of all his/her community.
The action of Altofest begins the creation of a transversal community, infected by the “barbaric” power of art. The choice of an intimate, domestic space, shared by the citizen, calls back precisely Roberto Esposito’s concept of community, in Immunitas. The word “community”, indeed, derives from “cum-munus”, where “munus” is the gift that is donated, and not the one that is received, that in Latin is “donum”.
Esposito writes: “This means that the members of a community are tied by a mutual duty of donating, more than by a sense of belonging. This duty literally hangs them out, in order to reach the other, almost expropriating themselves in favor of the other.” This leads to a concrete invasion, where the one who is invaded opens the door to the invader, offering his/her own identity with the clear intention of dissolving it. This invasion, and infection, is the origin and the conclusion of Altofest’s community in its continuous becoming. Its effects are disseminated through the city: propagation and dissemination give rise to an urban regeneration. The whole city becomes an open workshop.
What does it mean to become a “space donor”? Being part of a project promoting poetry as the base of existence, of subsistence? Cultivating a vision and thinking about culture as a primary, common, absolutely necessary, irreplaceable and inalienable good?
Altofest inaugurates a dialogue on the profound sense of hospitality, originating a new hybrid experience, this triggers the process of human regeneration that is one of the fundamental aims of Altofest. The citizen experiencing this process will bring it to his/her own community.
As artists, we know how radical and paradigmatic an artistic residency can be. We know how this can expand the limits of your own horizon, at a cognitive and emotional level. Imagination becomes concrete, and so does the autonomy of your thinking and acting.