Federico Protto

Federico Protto

We shall be monsters! – A vocabulary of monstrous empathy
2021, Workshop on  Storytelling / Creative Writing by Lisa Deml & Federico Protto
dotdotdot Open Air Shortfall festival, Veinna (AT)


»We shall be monsters, cut off from all the world; but on that account we shall be more attached to one another.«

– Mary Shelley, Frankenstein


Only when Frankenstein’s monster is rejected and betrayed by humankind does he turn from a kind and caring being into a frightful creature. The monstrosity that is projected onto him, and that he comes to perform, is an expression of fear of the un-known, the super-natural, the non-normative. Monsters are imaginative containers for social and cultural anxieties, but also for intimate and passionate desires. Transgressing societal standards and gender categories, entwined with mythology and technology, such non-non-human beings are uncannily close to us—and still beyond the scope of our empathy.

In this workshop, we wish to develop a shared vocabulary of monstrous empathy. Through collective reading and a conversation score based on Lilia Mestre’s score collection, we will conjure the monsters we bear within us, constant companions who we might fear and/or love, run from and/or huddle against. We invite you to bring songs, images, texts, and memories with which we can jointly assemble an ‘exquisite corpse’ and stitch together a monstrous mixtape. Together, we will play with the discourse of monstrosity, expand our understanding of monsters, and explore the emotions they can evoke.

invited by Andrea Maria Popelka