created and curated by TeatrInGestAzione
artistic direction – Gesualdi / Trono
dramaturg – Loretta Mesiti
Altofest is conceived as a piece on its own, a theatre device, a performance in the form of a festival. It is engrafted into the socio-urban fabric in which it happens.
It is built with the participation of resident citizens, who host national and international artists in their own homes.
In Altofest contemporary live art and authors experimenting with hybrid practices are welcomed. The houses become a space for artistic creation during two weeks of residence, and then they are open to the audience during the festival days. So the work of art breaks into everyday life, enabling the poetic part of existence to emerge. Altofest is a project of experimental sociality based on proximity, the gift, and mutual care. This gives birth to a direct relationship between artists and resident citizens.
Altofest inaugurates a dialogue on the profound meaning of hospitality, giving rise to a process of human regeneration, blending the intimate and public dimensions, providing a heterogeneous dimension between artists and citizens which tends to transcend roles in favour of choral participation, an utter experience that generates “new relationships”.
It is not just about hosting a performance in one’s own home but also what happens is that the daily presence of an artist contaminates the vision of those who live or cross the same space. The creative urgency of the artist blends in with the needs of his host, in a constant dialogue that redefines the work, but also the signs that compose it, as well as the inhabited space and the objects that define it as “familiar”.
The citizen involved in the project is not a user or recipient, but a structural and founding part of it and an active agent of the process. The hosting citizen takes care of the work of art and the artist, in turn, takes care of the host and his community.
The curatorial perspective that outlines the “fest” originates from meticulous attention to the one-to-one relationship between artist and donor, letting the generative potential of this encounter spread to the system of relationships within which everyone moves, infiltrating through the different layers of living.
Altofest was born in Naples in 2011, conceived and curated by TeatrInGestAzione, directed by Gesualdi | Trono, in dialogue with Loretta Mesiti.
Awarded by the EFA (European Festival Association) with the EFFE AWARD 2017-18 (Europe for Festivals Festivals for Europe), resulting in the six best festivals in Europe among more than 715 candidates. In 2018 it is included as a best practice in the annual report “Io sono cultura 2018” (t/n, I am culture), edited by Symbola Foundation.
Also in 2018, the Italian Ministry of Culture awarded it with the “European Year of Heritage” label. Winner of the Funder35 (2016); SIAE-Sillumina (2017); Allianz Kulturstiftung (2019) calls. In 2018 Altofest leaves the borders of Naples for the first time, inaugurating a series of special editions, commissioned by different European Capitals of Culture: Altofest Malta 2018 for Valletta 2018 ECoC; Altofest Matera-Basilicata 2019 for Matera 2019 ECoC; and on 2022 a re-edition for Valletta, commissioned by the Valletta Cultural Agency. It is also included in the Kaunas 2022 and Trenčín 2026 nomination dossier, acting as a de facto connector of a “spontaneous” network among the cities sharing this title. Altofest is an indicator of the cultural interest of the city of Naples in the Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor tool of the European Commission:
Altofest is an independent project based on its widespread community. It lives of the gift of TeatrInGestAzione members in the amount of time, skills, and money (to the extent of their own possibilities), the gift of citizens who offer space and hospitality, artists who share their work, staff, volunteers, the participation of some healthy local realities, professionals and scholars, and cultural experts, national and international, who offer their skills and tools interweaving their visions with those of Altofest.