A note on: Nemici, one of the finest Enemies, & the irrepressible Alessandro Burbank

I first met Alessandro Burbank in Venice, and did so under the auspice of his old world hospitality. To the restaurants without tourists, like me, to readings where Venetians made up the audiences. A man so Venetian precisely because others, because of his surname, that of an American father, marked him out as not quite Venetian. But if ever I’ve met a man who allowed me to rediscover, to understand for the first time, a city, it is Alessandro. And meeting him, through the Incroci di Voci project, curated by James Wilkes and Alessandro Mistrorigo, through chance operation and not a decided search is the way in which I met almost all the Italians involved in the Nemici project. All 12 of them, through readings, events, friends of friends. The plethora, the size of Italian poets, artists and writers doing interesting things across Europe, made itself known to me, and demanded an event to celebrate such intensity and variance. So the event itself proved, huge somehow, intensive, generous, hospitable, energetic. Over 100 people packed into the upper floors of the Rich Mix to witness 12 new collaborations from Italians and British based poets and artists, covering everything from performance, to video, to lyrical poetry and translation, to theatre. It was an event which almost precisely evidenced the reasons for Enemies, for its format – that collaboration pulls down singularity and subjectivity, makes people kinder, makes a community, that by celebrating a nation across nations in this way, nationalism dissipates and individuals true idiosyncracies and creativity comes to the fore, in structure as well as content. That people want to enjoy readings as events, as artworks, that they need to be curated as an exhibition would be, and that those involved should be asked on their attitude to the world as well as their work. The generous create waves of generosity through their work, and people leave feeling something special, but powerfully transient, has occurred. And that’s what happened on November 7th 2015, at the top of Brick Lane, where Alessandro and I took hold of the camera, translated each other through jargon and noise and I got to yell at him ‘you are a roman god’ with half-irony. You can check out all the videos http://www.theenemiesproject.com/nemici