The following is not a reflection, because everything still remains to be done.
And yet, speaking about the project which began on December 1st 2014 under the name Emergenze, growing to include Edicola 518 from June 1st 2016, means speaking about our lives. My life, in this case. In the belief that no true art exists except within life; and that no true life exists except within its ambition to be art.
As life, this project contains within itself life’s boundless energy and its irresolvable contradictions. It has brought me and those who have been by my side face-to-face with the exhilaration of an unattainable dream which morphs into a reality and then, just as easily, toe-to-toe with the crushing blows of a setback. Setbacks which would often seek to trip us up, but which we always managed to overcome for the sake of that dream.
If this project has any merit, it is that of having been out of step with the time it was born into, and effortlessly remaining so to this day. Nothing has been done by the rules. Nothing has been calculated in response to market analysis. Nothing has been done in the interests of crowd-pleasing or self-satisfaction. Rather, it has all been a conscious rebellion; occasionally just as sly as the enemies it has fought and still fights.
Ten years can go by and leave the feeling that they were never lived at all. Three years can go by, packed with the vital pulse of a full life. In their aftermath remains the great sorrow of having seen friends and fellow travellers beat their retreat when it was the very moment to charge unrestrainedly ahead. We are, unfortunately, living through an age of disengagement. The shared dream must be reconstructed; no easy task, given how words come cheap to those who talk of revolution, only to then withdraw back into their conformity. Who model their lives on it.
A dream without action is a fantasy.
I have often felt like an anarchist during this time. Because anarchy is not the impossible, it is the unrealised. Because anarchy is the utopia to strive towards, as our friend Francesco Codello said in one of the many meetings that have been organised here at the Edicola. At this kiosk, which has dared to challenge the rules, which has taken on the risks of reinventing itself without seeking anyone’s permission.
During this period, we have feared everything even while remaining fearless. We have bowed out of competition because we are not on the market. Or if we are, it is only throw it into confusion.
I could point to the dozens of visiting speakers we have brought to the city; figures from Italian and international intellectual circles who we invited to speak with people on equal, egalitarian terms in public spaces. But there would be no need, because the wonderful thing about our events is that they have been lived. Those who were present have not forgotten. And we are thankful to them. I could mention dozens of international publications which have come to Italy thanks to our insight, dozens of unjustly unknown figures whose memory we have preserved and whose cultural contributions we have reaffirmed. I could mention a series of goals achieved in defiance of all rational expectations, but I will not give in to the temptation to employ self-made-man rhetoric to celebrate the success of a project which was born as an homage to defeat.
There is just one achievement which must be remembered with pride, and used as the basis for what is to come. Emergenze/Edicola 518 is a project which has so far acted to influence its time without being controlled by it. Every attempt to capture us and bring us back to the world of economics, politics, and materialism has failed. Because whenever somebody tries to plant their flag here, they find that the ground has already shifted.

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