Filoxenia is a durational poetry relay - realised as a single sentence crossing borders in form, content, effort and space. A collective writing action exploring provocations on hospitality, friendship, social imagination, polarisation, border-crossing, poetic agency and love - as a means to imagine together otherwise and beginning with filoxenia the Greek word for hospitality whose connotations are multiple. Xenios Zeus was the name of the controversial 2012 migrant stop and search operation in Greece whilst it also refers to the ancient God of Hospitality, welcoming a stranger into your home, the crossing of thresholds, filo friend and brotherly love filea, human care and agency. Where language often plays a key role in the control and preservation of borders - poetic witness exceeds linguistic boundaries via its singular, relational and embodied address. The artist-writers engage in participatory writing, reading and recording to generate a collective poetic work.

Lisa Alexander was joined by writer and artist Mary Paterson, performance artist and writer Jungmin Song and poet Saradha Soobrayen, who also contributed written provocations to an ongoing paper provocation file prior to the event. Artist and filmmaker Zoe Mavroudi joined Lisa in an ad hoc continuation of the action before the event’s close.

This first iteration was realised for Who Are We? Art, migration and the production of democracy at The Tate Modern – Tate Exchange on 24/05/18 and remained as a writing installation in the space until 27/05/18. Filoxenia marks the beginning of the TO YOU TO YOU TO YOU programme of events.

found poems 24/05/18

writing: Lisa Alexander, Mary Paterson, Jungmin Song, found by: Saradha Soobrayen

the silence

like a closed room

love and happiness


his hands

from outside


no idea

you can’t tell

your tongue




become me and



it may concern




an invitation

with time

like a Naturalized Citizen


those words across

not in protection

in every direction

does it matter




the intimacy

flows from one country to the other


sentence stopped unmade

remain sound

a chorus



feels more like belonging


get close

who wasn’t me


anger morning

question did not move again

your lips


all the air in our lungs

stopped us stopped everyone

but an open letter

on the other side

in the sky