Nicla del Frate, Francesca Partisan e Giacoma di Vieste curate a festival and photographic activities in the north west part of Apulia. A festival dedicated to the meaning of leaving and taking care of the place we inhabit.
Today we speak with Nicla about Collateral Maris festival
How and when did the festival start?
In 2018, almost by chance and a bit for fun, we launched a “Collateral” program at the Stella Maris festival (hence Collateral Maris Festival), a port and sailors festival to which we are very close, we were actually giving life to that desire, now in its sixth edition. Collateral Maris is a festival of arts, photography and landscapes in which art mixes with places and places with art to enhance each other. We really felt the need to propose something that puts the landscape at the center, that enhances it, by enhancement they mean not the commodification of places (typical of many tourist places) but the weaving of a relationship of love and care between inhabitants and space, those spaces that we ourselves care so much about. We also wanted to open “La Sperduta” (“The Lost” as Vieste was once called) to ideas, works, themes, ways that were contemporary, to propose an alternative model of cultural event, far from mass events, something that had a heart, a message to be communicated.
Is there a relationship between the festival and the place that hosts it? how much is important?
As we said, Collateral is its places, from its genesis to its manifestation. We started from the awareness that tourism and more generally the capitalist approach has undermined the authentic relationship between inhabitants and places and these “arts scattered like seeds in the landscapes” really intend to show what surrounds us in a different light, its extraordinary beauty and fragility, in order to create a new housing awareness: the place we live in belongs to us and must be actively guarded, if we were all aware of it it would be a completely different world. Not surprisingly, our leitmotif is “Here, I live! “it is also the theme we had chosen for the 2021 edition, inspired by an essay by Heidegger on living but which in reality perfectly summarizes the cause and ultimate goal of our Festival, has become its key message regardless of the theme of edition. Our living is fundamentally a matter of care. Of love that turns into action. Our home is Vieste, the Gargano, up to the entire planet, without borders.
Why ‘The Blue Hour’? how did you choose the theme and how do you want this concept to be conveyed?
Every year we look for a theme that can allow us to talk about several topics connected in some way to each other. The Blue Hour is a concept of passage. That was what we wanted to focus on. Beyond the photographic and physical concept itself: the moment of transition between darkness and light and vice versa perfectly represents in our opinion the historical, social, political and environmental moment we are experiencing. A period of transition and above all of change, where you have to decide where you want to go and how, how you want to look at things, what choices to make, what to keep. The Blue Hour perfectly embodies this condition without neglecting the poetic aspect, which has always been central to us. Sending messages, bringing reflections, sharing beauty, and doing it simultaneously: this is our intent.
Photography has always been present in your festival, can you tell us about your close collaboration with the archaic future and your experiences with female photographers?
Although it is a multidisciplinary festival, photography has always been central both for our personal passion and as a vehicle to tell the themes that we have dealt with from year to year. This is also why we chose to exhibit on the street: to ensure that the photographs speak to everyone, regardless of interest, indeed, sometimes precisely with the aim of arousing it. The collaborations came as a result: every year the project we selected “fitted” perfectly into the theme. It was the same with the guys from Futuro Arcaico, who brought us for our 2021 “Qui Io Abiti” edition, a selection from “Radici” with shots of different authors who won their Call for Artists. It was a great collaboration from a human and professional point of view. We greatly appreciate their work, capable of giving life to an essential archive of Apulian artists in just a few. The same thing goes for all the other photographers: we have been very lucky to be able to exhibit, edition after edition, projects of great artistic and documentary value. From Elena Zottola to Alfredo Bosco, passing through Tommaso Protti, Maria Grazia Carriero, Alessandro Tricarico and many others.
What does your artistic residency offer and how was it born?
Our first artistic residence entrusted to Jacopo Valentini started, like everything we do, a bit backwards. We have not issued a residency open call. It all started from the need to investigate the theme on the territory, then an old collaboration, friendship and discussion on the theme between Jacopo and Giacoma who has always dealt with the Collateral Call for Artist they did the rest. Jacopo Valentini, in addition to having received various awards and having exhibited in Italy and abroad, is in line with the CMF for his attention to the landscape, in fact he revisits the classic Italian landscape photography, proposing a new form of interpretation of the territory in which every possible layer is analyzed to offer a transversal understanding. We invited Jacopo to carry out a one-week photographic investigation here in Vieste, starting from the theme of the Blue Hour and declining it on the territory. A work that will see the light during the sixth edition of the festival.
The photographic open call is dedicated to the Blue Hour: can you tell us about it?
For 3 years now, we have been launching the Collateral Call for Artist, an open call opens to all the visual arts, whose selected works become an exhibition exhibited during the festival. The call is a way to further investigate the theme of the festival, to have other visions and approaches to it, as well as an attempt to disseminate it and spark a debate through the exhibition. In addition to this, we clearly have every intention of producing and curating an exhibition with innovative content through the contribution of the participating artists. Participation in the call is free and the winner gets a cash prize. As already mentioned, given the theme of the festival, it is Giacoma Di Vieste who takes care of both the call and the resulting exhibition. Each year a jury selects the works that will be exhibited and also decrees a winner. This year we will have Jacopo Valentini, Carlos Solitos and Elisa Monsellato as jurors. In the past, among others, Angelo Rinaldi – art director of La Repubblica; Adriano Amendola – professor of art history at the University of Salerno; Claudia Mollese – documentary maker and director. For the future we plan to make the Collateral Call more attractive by also including a call for an artist residency, in the hope that this will contribute to its growth in terms of participation but also by producing artistic projects as a festival.