In 1994, hundreds of European artists, activists and pranksters adopted and shared the same identity. They all called themselves Luther Blissett and started to raise hell in the cultural industry. It was a five year plan. 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 a legend, the reputation of a folk hero. This Robin Hood of the information age waged a guerrilla warfare on the cultural industry, ran unorthodox solidarity campaigns for victims of censorship and repression and – above all – played elaborate media pranks as a form of art, always claiming responsibility and explaining what bugs they had exploited to plant a fake story.
In 1999 the Luther Blissett Project made its most famous stunt with the publication of the novel Q, which soon became an international best-seller, translated into thirteen languages and thirty countries. Q was the final act of the LBP. The book had a “copyleft” clause and anticipated Creative Commons licences, as it was freely reproducible and the authors themsleves made it downloable from their website.
In January 2000, after the end of the LBP, the authors of Q launched a new project, Wu Ming (which in Chinese means both “no name” and “five names”), a laboratory of literary fiction writing, myth-making and storytelling. Every member has a nom de plum composed of “Wu Ming” plus a number. Since then, Wu Ming authored several books, including 54 (2002, Spanish edition 2003) and Manituana (2007, to be published in Spain in 2009). Their novels are seen as part of a big and complex literary trend called the “New Italian Epic”.
Members of the collective also write “solo” novels. Wu Ming 1’s New Thing was published in Italy in 2004 and in Spain (by Acuarela) in 2008. It is an “unidentified narrative object” set in Brooklyn, 1967, it’s mainly about free jazz and the impact it had on music and society. Wu Ming 1 will talk about this book at the Oxcars.
Wu Ming will participate in the Oxcars Awards Ceremony with a musico-literary presentation, as well as presenting the new book by Wu Ming 1, New Thing, on October 29 at Sala Conservas (see RELATED ACTIVITIES). http://www.wumingfoundation.com