GESTART Artistic Gestures revisiting European Artistic diversity and convergence

Culture Programme (2007-2013) EACEA
Capofila: Câmara Municipal de Mação PT
Partners:Instituto Terra e Memória PT; Xunta de Galicia ES; Junta de Extremadura ES; Welsh Rock Art Organisation UK; CUEBC IT


In 5 European scenarios, over 30 mobile actors will gather object creators (artists and artisans) and, specialists (archaeologists and art historians) to create a visual discourse and to intervene in the cultural landscape, involving a public of at least 100.000. Mobility will foster interdisciplinary and intercultural stimuli and debate, designing an Ariadne’s thread, binding together past and future through present creativity.
Intercultural dialogue is at the core of this project. This is understood within a synchronic dimension (hence the choice of five scenarios that merge two of the main European Cultural clusters: Atlantic and Mediterranean) and a diachronic one resulting from the dialogue between contemporary society (through artists) and past society that seats at its root (through rock art).
"GestArt" is about gesture, all gestures not those of artists alone, and performance, at the origin of cultural identities, artists finding their place within a multitude of people. In this sense visual arts and cultural heritage are the two basic references, but performance is the way how the project comes into being, and applied arts, design, literature, virtually all artistic expressions, are involved in the various activies that will make the Ariadne thread linking people and identities. Memory, foresight and creativity are indeed the framework of any cultural understanding of citizens rights and duties, i.e., of their selfness.
In particular CUEBC will deal with music gestures and performances and will organize a GestartF in Ravello from 9 to 11 May 2014, where musical ensembles coming from Italy, Wales and Portugal will perform folk and traditional music.


The Italian Scenario
The project has been implemented in the Amalfi Coast and has been focused on the link between music and landscape: the music as a component of the space, able to enhance the attractiveness of the place and to reinforce the sense of belonging and the love for their own cultural heritage in local community. The landscape, the main asset of the cultural assets, constitutes the scenery of the performances that the Centre has organized within the project. Subject of the performances has been the traditional Neapolitan music, which is also considered as intangible cultural heritage because of its importance in the construction of the identity of this area and in the history of world music. The project has involved musicians and choreographers, artists who have been called upon to interpret the classic Neapolitan music, animating the most beautiful places of the Amalfi Coast.
Anyway to make it easier to understand the project is necessary to dwell on the relationship between art and landscape that is the project focus.
Since ever landscape has been the source of literary, artistic and musical inspiration: both because looking at landscape the observer tends to go beyond the outer appearance to catch the inner essence of reality as well as its deep meaning, and because contemplation in itself allows the observer to be in harmony with what is around him and to tune his heartstrings with nature in order to play together as one. Consequently outside contemplation becomes inside contemplation, our soul discloses itself mirroring in the landscape which is in front of us. Music, when it comes from landscape, refers back to landscape, and this is the reason why we decided to organize a series of travelling concerts along the winding paths of the Amalfi Coast, so music may help those who walk through to contemplate the surrounding landscape and to find themselves again: step by step, fragment by fragment. As in a cathartic travel turning around the landscape and drawing from it like from an inspiring muse.
Landscape is not only made of images, but also of smells, tastes, sensations and sounds; and these last ones, sometimes, contribute to create landscape and the “genius loci” more intensely than other more tangible elements, as colours and shapes. Often the image of the places we have known and that we keep in our memory goes together with an impalpable scent or a melody which, when we happen to hear it, anywhere, immediately will recall us those places and the emotions we lived then, much more distinctly than if we would leaf through a photo album. Music is a structural element of Ravello landscape, and of the Amalfi Coast in general, and bringing it back in the core of the experience of those who stay there for tourism, by means of travelling music performances, is a way to give cultural depth and emotional value to that experience, strengthening the empathetic bond between tourist and the territory. But, at the same time, the sense of belonging of the local community will get stronger, since music is one of the principal identity reference point of Ravello community.


The project had two main objectives: 1) to strengthen the local identity because a strategic axis of a territorial development strategy, by showing to local communities that landscape is a social construction, a result of their history and therefore a mirror of their our identity that needs to be preserved and enahanced; 2) to involve tourists in a real experience of the genius loci. Regarding the first objective, it is necessary to promote the landscape as a source of economic and social values that can be activated by the local community by developing environmentally friendly activities targeting both the tourists and the local population. Related to the 2nd objective the need is to promote a sustainable tourism development focused on the exploitation of local resources but, at the same time, able to attract responsible tourism: tourists interested in a experiential tourism linked to the discovery of the place and its identity.
The musicians performance, described later, is nothing else than a metofora of the goals just outlined: the music illuminates the landscape, showing its beauty, as the local community has to do. More connected to the objectives outlined is the video (see 2.2) in which is described the actions that build the landscape and, with it, the true identity of the Amalfi Coast , such as the construction of stone walls or the care of lemon trees.
Anyway we can identify three different types of sub-goals by the effects that they can produce: economic, social, cultural and environmental:
Economic objectives Increasing local attractiveness with positive effects on tourist flows, and reinforcing the tourist image of Ravello like a “music city” (branding) .
Social objectives Enhancing the sense of belonging, contributing to reinforce social cohesion
Cultural objectives Collecting and disseminating the culture of the place, enhancing the “place memory”, all elements around which is built the territorial identity.
Environmental objectives Reinforcing in the local community the respect for the landscape as a cultural heritage, the most important expression of their own heritage and of the local identity


Every activity undertaken locally and linked to the project has been designed in order to have the greatest territorial impact. In the next box is summarized for each activity the objectives achieved.


Video “The gestures of tradition in the Amalfi Coast”
The video alternates shots of the artists who play in the most panoramic of the Amalfi Coast and shots of the most scenic and characteristic places of the Amalfi Coast and of human and natural elements to which can be attributed a value of identity also scenes related to the cultivation of the terraces and/or crafts typical, as the straining of anchovies or Vietri ceramics, the building of stone walls, and the lemon trees care activities ) with the same music


Musicians performance
The action consisted of the joint performance of local musicians and musicians from other locations involved in the project. The performances have animated some of the landmarks of the Amalfi Coast: squares, historic buildings and of course the auditorium Niemeyer.


International Seminar
Organization of an international seminar on the topic “Cultural Heritage and Local Development. The “Faro Convention”. The Seminar has been structured on three sessions and has seen the involvement of experts and university professors specialized on these topics.
•1st Session - The role of local communities. Local empowerment and community involvement
•2nd Session - Cultural Heritage as a source of creativity
•3rd Session - How to increase the value of cultural heritage. To overcame the economic perspective.


Final Pubblication - special issue of n. 18 "Territori della Cultura"
The thematic scope of the volume should focus on practical or theoretical issues related to the main tasks of Gestart Project and to the link between culture, community and development. The volume include::
a.Current research issues in tourism, heritage and community involvement strategies
b.Best practices related to the involvement of local community in enhancing cultural heritage or to promote local development;
c.Case studies related to cultural heritage and local development paths.

Itinerant exhibition
It includes visual reproductions of artistic work and prehistoric art from the various scenarios, with contributions from all partners and associated partners.