ALTOFEST was born to GIVE RISE to a community that generates critical thinking, that is constantly on the alert regarding every attempt of imposing a depersonalized cultural proposal. A community that is able to recognize culture as a primary good, of which it feels a daily need. We try to insert a process athwart the several social elements of the urban fabric, putting them into dialogue. The connection is given by the foreign, external sight, that expresses itself in the plurality of artistic languages that are hosted in the festival. These semantic interferences give to the community the occasion of speaking to each other in a neutral language, meeting in a shared space for risking.
Following this vision, we found in “proximity” and “gift” the first keys to conceive the structure of Altofest.
Since 2011, every year, in different areas of the city, Naples’ citizens become Altofest’s space donors, welcome national and international artists in their private spaces, offering the gift of their hospitality and accommodation.
These private and intimate places (apartments, terraces, basements, courtyards, whole buildings, artisan shops) become the space for the artistic residency where every artist will re-qualify one of his/her artwork in dialogue and in relation with the citizen’s everyday life and intimacy. After the residency, the same spaces are opened to the audience.
The proximity exposes both the donor and the artist to a mutual lack of ownership: the first losing objects and spaces, the other 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” losing the usual conditions of the formal space where it primarily was born. The work will inhabit totally new spaces, geometries and remembrance, calling the artist to reconsider its structure, the original and essential core and its shape, in dialogue with space and the relations that are involved in it.
Expropriation, displacement, are usually perceived as traumatic conditions, but in Altofest they turn into the possibility of an artistic and human regeneration. What is private has not an owner anymore, turning itself into a shared intimacy.
Also, the audience is welcomed into this intimate space, therefore exposed to an encounter in which spectators also are called to offer a gift: their responsible gazes.
The whole “fest” is conceived and built as a shared and extended work: the artistic direction puts in relation every proposal with citizens and their spaces following a uniform dramaturgy, making the entire Altofest a total play.
The curatorial approach that draws the “fest” focuses on the care of 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: leaking in 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. To give rise to a common space, a suspended geography, to be constantly re-created, makes Altofest a project of experimental sociality.
In its development Altofest is followed by the gaze and analysis of the Critic Observatory, an autonomous organism, gathering experts from different fields of knowledge (critics, artists, researchers, curators). Their role is the constant creation of a space for questioning about the aesthetic processes and dynamics of participation activated by Altofest. The Critic Observatory moves through the spaces of the festival, originating daily discussions with 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 a dialogue among international experts on cultural practices and artistic visions of human/urban regeneration.
The making of Altofest is curated according to the principles of the poetic and creative methodology of TeatrInGestAzione, moved by the urgency of freeing the performative actions from the mere spectacular context, keeping constantly the contact with the theoretical reflection, inseparable from every artistic practice.