Writings

The production of the first video sound installation piece Streets of Naples took place in early June 2004. At the time I was curator of the London International Festival of Theatre for which I created a framework of collective engagement to explore the nature of international theatre in London. Together with the festival directors, I invited one hundred people of different ages, cultural and professional backgrounds to respond to the question “What is theatre to you?” This mechanism of public engagement was conceived as a process of democratic creative practice. Suddenly the thought of life in the streets and alleyways of Naples as a quintessential form of theatre came to my mind. And so, without hesitation I decided to go back to my home town and with a small, non-intrusive mini dv camera went out with a cameraman to record the movements, gestures and sounds of people that comprise the Neapolitan theatre of everyday life. Set at the crossroads of ancient and modern cultures, Naples is a city which strikes visitors for its natural beauty, amazing monuments and countless manifestations of social injustice. I felt that the ‘daily performances’ of human life, with their comic and tragic aspects, could be crystallized in units of movement and units of sound rooted in the archetypes of the place, while connecting the city to other cultures in the world that had traversed it over the centuries. As I wrote in my diary, in my walk through Naples I was looking for an ancestral gesture that contains and reveals without ever manifesting into an action, underlying memories swirling through the streets of the city.

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