1. Luther Blissett Project (1994-99)
"Luther Blissett" is a multi-use pseudonym, an "open
reputation" informally adopted and shared by hundreds of artists, hackers
and social activists all over Europe since Summer 1994.
For reasons that remain unknown, the name was borrowed from a 1980's British soccer player of Afro-Caribbean origins.
In Italy, between 1994 and 1999, the so-called Luther Blissett Project (an organized network within the open community sharing the "Luther Blissett" identity) became an extremely popular phenomenon, managing to create the legend of a sort of folk hero, a Robin Hood of the information age playing media pranks, planting fake stories in the national press, running unorthodox solidarity campaigns for victims of repression etc.
The novel Q, by now a huge success across the Old Continent, was written by four Bologna-based members of the LBP and published in Italian in 1999. So far, it has been translated in English, Spanish, German, Dutch, French, Portuguese (Brazilian), Danish and Greek.
Besides the complexity of the plot and its allegorical values, the fact that the book was published with a kind of "copyleft" notice caused quite a sensation among those who ignored that the practical critique of intellectual property had been at the core of the LBP's activities.
December 1999 marked the end of the LBP's Five Year Plan. All the "veterans" committed a symbolic seppuku (samurai ritual suicide, a few years before samurais became trendy). The end of the LBP did not entail the end of the name, which is still adopted by many people.
If you want to know more about Luther Blissett and/or the LBP, check www.lutherblissett.net
2. Wu Ming (since 2000)
In January 2000, a fifth person joined the four authors of
Q and a new band of authors was born, Wu Ming (chinese for "anonymous").
Since then, we have authored further novels and essays. So far, our major collective effort has been 54, a novel set in 1954, with dozens of lead characters (including actor Cary Grant), also translated in several European languages. The book was an inspirational source for the Italian folk-rock band Yo Yo Mundi whose concept album (also titled 54) was released at the beginning of 2004.
The "solo" novels of two members of the band (Wu Ming 2 and Wu Ming 1) are going to be published in Italy by the end of 2004. This is not unprecedented: Wu Ming 5's novel Havana Glam was published in 2001.
We have also written the screenplay for Guido Chiesa's movie Lavorare con lentezza [Working Slow], which will hit Italian theaters in September 2004.
Because of our position on copyright, our experiments in collective writing, the hundreds of meetings with the readers we held in Italy and abroad and - last but not least - our involvement in social causes Wu Ming is now getting even more famous than the LBP ever was.
The band's name is meant both as a tribute to dissidents and a refusal of the role of the "Author" as a star.
The identities of the five members of Wu Ming are not secret, only we think our work is more important than our biography or our faces.
Each member of Wu Ming has a nom de plume composed by the name of the group plus a number (it depends on the alphabetical order of our last names).
Riccardo Pedrini = Wu Ming 5
Federico Guglielmi = Wu Ming 4
Luca Di Meo = Wu Ming 3
Giovanni Cattabriga = Wu Ming 2
Roberto Bui = Wu Ming 1