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Alessandro De Francesco - Biography

Alessandro De Francesco (Pisa, 1981) is an Italian poet, theoretician and artist based in Strasbourg, France. He earned a degree in Philosophy at the University of Pisa and studied philosophy and comparative literature at the Écoles Normales Supérieures of Paris and Lyon and at the Technische Universität Berlin. Trained as a musician as well, he played bass professionally, attended the Siena Jazz International Master Classes and studied composition and electronic music a.o. at IRCAM (Paris), Accademia Chigiana (Siena), Centro Musica & Arte (Florence).

Internationally regarded as one of the most significant Italian poets, he has been Poet-in-Residence at European Graduate School in 2008 and 2012, he taught Creative Writing at École Normale Supérieure in Paris, Literary Theory at University of Paris – Sorbonne, Italian Contemporary Poetry at École Normale Supérieure in Lyon and is currently lecturer in French Studies at the University of Basel, Switzerland. He has been artist-in-residence in several European countries with numerous projects focused on the interaction between poetry, sound art, installation and, more recently, digital typography and page design.

Alessandro De Francesco published the following books of poetry: Lo spostamento degli oggetti (Verona: Cierre Grafica, 2008, language: Italian), da 1000m (e-book, www.gammm.org, 2009, languages: Italian, English and French), Redéfinition (Paris: Mix., 2010, language: French), Ridefinizione (Rome: La Camera Verde, 2011). His poetry has been translated into English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Dutch and Swedish and published in poetry journals worldwide (a.o. Nioques, Fence, OR, Anterem, il verri, Semicerchio, poet, OEI, Parmentier).

In his essay on Alessandro De Francesco's first book Lo spostamento degli oggetti (Objects Moving), Martin Rueff points out the complex lyrical and philosophical articulations of Alessandro De Francesco's poetry and underlines the depth and variety of its international references. In Da 1000m (From 1000m), Ridefinizione (Redefinition) and the still incomplete La visione a distanza (Remote Vision), Alessandro De Francesco's poetry becomes more prose-like and post-genre oriented, but a strong continuity remains in all his work. Since the beginning, Alessandro De Francesco undertook a project of deconstruction of the borders dividing, on the one hand, national literary traditions and, on the other hand, lyrical and experimental approaches through a permanent redefinition of a series of key-themes: narrative, perception, emotion, sleep and dreams (from a perspective which is far away from any post-surrealistic seduction), childhood, possibility and events, information and media, technology. His poetry and artistic work is haunted by the questions related to the unspeakable and the unknown.

Very active also as a theoretician and translator, Alessandro De Francesco published several articles mainly focused on western poetics from the 19th century until today and translations from Italian, French, German and English poetry and theory.

Alessandro De Francesco has been invited by academic and non-academic institutions in Europe, USA and Canada for poetry readings and lectures (a.o. Centre Georges Pompidou, University of London's School of Advanced Study, Poetry Center at San Francisco State University, The Berlin University of the Arts, Outpost for Contemporary Art Los Angeles, McGill University, Guelph University, Media-Lab Tallinn, Verona Poetry Biennale, Printemps des poètes Berlin, La poésie / nuit poetry festival, Biennale des poètes en Val-de-Marne) and since 2005 he has been realizing numerous “reading environments”, as he calls his poetry performances and installations with voice digital processing. Among them: o.m., Arthouse Tacheles, Berlin 2005; sosta#1, University of the Arts, Berlin 2006; sosta#3, Denkmalschmiede Höfgen, Leipzig 2006; lo spostamento degli oggetti, Ausland Berlin, 2007; ridefinizione, European tour with the composer and performer Paolo Ingrosso, 2008-10; cercavo fantasie e trovavo solo sassi., Florence 2009; Mental Portrait of Jean-Damien Collin, with Caroline Zekri, Kunsthalle Mulhouse, 2012. De Francesco's main reading environments were produced by STEIM, The Netherlands' leading centre of electronic performing arts.

Through the “reading environments” practice and an ongoing 3D text processing project, Alessandro De Francesco conceived the innovatory notion of “augmented writing” (www.augmentedwriting.com). This notion, spanning from poetry to sound and conceptual art, describes Alessandro De Francesco's critical use of technology and digital media within his writing and performing practice. A sort of iconoclast double of the “augmented” and “virtual” realities, the “augmented writing” consists of sonic and visual enhancements of the text through sound treatment and graphic design software.

Alessandro De Francesco is an artist in residence at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, where he conducted an Intensive Summer Seminar with Judith Balso.