High as a Kite

Federico Protto


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‘My name is Federico Protto. I am a performance artist and fashion designer living and working in Brussels. Carefully I am listening to and observing sounds and images of the city of Aalst. My starting point: Netwerk Aalst. Sitting at my desk within the residents-apartment I see people passing by in front of the large window. Humans from all over the world, from all kinds of ages, genders, situations. And I listen to their different speaking, languages, pitches, tonalities, fragments of calls, murmuring, singsong, screams of children, crawling through the open window into my attentive ears. The super-diversity of Aalst is right here.

I sit here and I write, thoughts, notes on particular sounds, what they might mean, where they might originate and where they might flicker towards? Where are they traveling to, what is their goal? How do they transfer me and how do they transform? How do they connect? I exchange emails with Myriam, short ones and long ones, about living and non-living objects frequenting in the air, about our earthy relationship to them. About the two very different cities we are maneuvering through right now, at the same moment, and our nascent reflections on a new work together.

I wonder about the joyful-mysterious chalk drawings in front of Netwerk, remains of playful hours from the children’s summer program of Netwerk. They look like maps, instructions: Rainbow, Sun, Cloud, Flower, Pirate Ship, Unicorn, Sun, Moon, Flower, Star. Secret scores for choreography/sonics of hope?

In the evenings I exit the apartment and wonder about a huge factory in the center of it all, about transparent non-transparent buildings, about the large diversity of wildflowers growing on the edge of relentlessly endless seeming construction sites. And about the calmness at dusk, a city asleep. Awake just me and the mosquitos, plenty of them, happily partying by the summery night-dampness of the river.’

High as a Kite, Myriam Van Imschoot & Federico Protto, Module 1 ‘‘Sonics of Hope’’, Federico Protto’s Residency at Netwerk Aalst

The collaborative work ‘High as a Kite’ by Myriam Van Imschoot & Federico Protto revolves around public places, where sounds and movements of children flag a vital and relentless energy and call the community to h o p e with pure joy and force. At the base a ‘phantasmatic installation’ guides us in our work, a vision of humans, colorful flags, textile in motion, and amassing movement so closely that it’s like a sonic sculpture transforming public space. The research is spread over several modules. The residency week at Netwerk Aalst is the first Module ‘Sonics of Hope’ in this series. High as a Kite, takes the flag for a ride.