in media res


TERM PAPER SHOW AND TELL v. 3.0 by morva
April 21, 2008, 9:53 pm
Filed under: paolo | Tags: ,

The Luther Blissett Project: a viral attack on the modern infosphere. If someone accesses Wikipedia, the ambitious project of the open-source encyclopaedia in Internet, searching for the name Luther Blissett, he or she will find out a curious ambiguity that surrounds this name. Indeed, he or she will find two entries: the first one is about Luther Blissett, the English football player of Afro-Caribbean origins, who was active during the ‘80s. The second one is about a collective or multiple-use name (nom de plum) shared by hundreds of artists and social activists all over Europe and South America since Summer of 1994. From this date to 1999, the so called Luther Blissett Project became an extremely popular and noteworthy phenomenon in Italy, catching the attention of great part of printed and digital media, and causing cultural debates within intellectual and popular spheres. Despite the Italian project reached an end in 1999, Luther Blissett was active also in other countries, especially in Spain and Germany, and its name is still used nowadays for actions of social protest or forms of artistic expression.[1]  This study aims to examine the activity of the Luther Blissett Project in the Italian media environment, paying particular attention on the technical analysis of the mechanism of spreading fake news with the aim of showing the weakness of the circuit of communication of the contemporary mass media. I will start to summarize a brief history of the Italian Luther Blissett Project, taking some of many media hoaxes as examples of their activism. I will also try to contextualize the use of the collective identity in the recent history. After this, I will examine the possible relationship between the Luther Blissett Project and the work of PR and media communication agents – such as spin doctors or media minders, for instance – paying particularly attention on the points in common and the differences between them. Moreover, I will focus my attention on the source of the news within the culture industry and its circulation thanks to media rhetoric and the sphere of journalism. In the third and last part of the study I will propose a model of this kind of alternative media and form of social protest in a rhizomatic perspective, taking the metaphor of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari as example and making a comparison between the use of the multiple name in the field of alternative media and the form of control and surveillance of the contemporary form of power.

 

 

The Luther Blissett Project: history of a collective name

 

The reasons for why exactly the name of an English football player had been used to share the identity of a great variety of people are unknown.[2] However, it is true that since the summer of 1994 many shows of performing art and media guerrilla operations were carried out under this unique name. The leitmotif, which was endlessly repeated, was “Everyone can be Luther Blissett”, highlighting a sort of ideological statement aimed at the loss of individual identity. In other words, the multiple-name is an open reputation that anyone can informally adopt and share with other people, and whose performances must not necessarily have a common purpose.

The appearance of Luther Blissett Project in Italy is linked mainly with the subculture surroundings, a network that flourished from the common terrain of the cultural underground (social centres or rave parties, for instance), universities  and so on. Although the development can be read on a national scale, the operative centre could be located, without any doubt, in the city of Bologna. Here there was indeed the most active environment within which the “legend” of Luther Blissett reached its peak of popularity. The first media which was used, as they say, in a positive way (Blissett, 2000, p. XXXIII) was the radio: Radio Blissett was actually a program that was broadcasted from local station in Bologna and Rome on a daily basis for a long time, in which all authors called themselves with the pseudonym. After this, there was the use of fanzines distributed in places of subculture activities: firsts were titled Luther Blissett: world periodical of psychic war, and after there were those titled Luther Blissett’s red notebooks. Then came the collaboration with alternative publishing houses, and the use of new technologies from the World Wide Web (the website http://www.lutheblissett.net is still working). In this way, the multiple name gained popularity among the underground environment. It was, however, thanks to the first actions they called media terrorism that the project acquired, in the mid ‘90s, a noteworthy relevance within national media. Besides their media activism, the Luther Blissett Project was also involved in the cultural production: in 1999 was in fact published the novel Q, signed by Luther Blissett, that became quickly a bestseller and had been translated shortly after in many languages.   

In 2000, one of the main Italian publishing houses released a sort of Luther Blissett manifesto, named Totò, Peppino e la Guerra psichica 2.0 (Totò, Peppino and the Psychic War 2.0), in which some of the veterans of the project revealed what was behind some of their most famous actions. They made this because, as written in the text, the 1999 marked the end of a five years plan in which, at the end, all the veterans committed a symbolic seppuku, or a virtual suicide that marked the conclusion of the Luther Blissett Project (Blissett, 2000).[3] The release of this sort of intellectual testament brought to the description of actions and ideal statements about the aims of the project.

Among lots of performances and acts of demonstration which were realised by the Luther Blissett during the five years project, some of the most effective media pranks are particularly noteworthy because they give specifically relevance to the spirit and the provocative attitude of Luther Blissett’s members. I will report some of which have been realised at best.

The most international one was played on January 1995. It was said that a  British conceptual artist named Harry Kipper disappeared at the border between Italy and Slovenia while he was searching to across Europe on a mountain bike, allegedly with the purpose of tracing the word “ART” on the map of the continent. A popular TV show of the Italian state television, specialized in searching missed people, was involved to find the unlucky artist. A crew of the show was sent to London and beyond to get information, where novelist Stewart Home and Richard Essex of the London Psychogeographical Association posed as close Kipper’s friends. Finally, Luther Blissett claimed its responsibility for having invented a person who had never existed, making fun of how easy was arranging a story for media interests and, at the same time, how superficially the TV show investigated.

The most well done media hoax, however, was probably realized in 1996, to the detriment of one most influential and powerful publishing houses in Italy, Mondadori.[4] By the use of the Web and its potential flow of information (e-mail, blogs, newsgroups, forums and so on), Luther Blissett got in touch with one of Mondadori collaborator (Blissett, 2000), who was trying to gather material regarding this multiple name. He aimed to publish a book about the cyber-culture generation. For several months, and everyday, Luther Blissett had been sending via e-mail written material to this Mondadori collaborator, in order to create a future book about the youth subculture of Internet. At the end, the results was net. gener@tion, that came out shortly after. But just little before the publication of the book, Luther Blissett wrote a letter to two of the main national newspapers in Italy (Repubblica and Il Manifesto) in which it explained how it had cheated the publishing house: all material that Luther Blissett had sent to the collaborator was actually nothing less than pieces of texts picked up randomly from Internet, from school essays about new technologies or letters of drunk youngsters and so on, and then assembled in a way in which it was possible to find some coherence. All this was revealed just before net.gener@tion was on the shelves of every bookshop in Italy, in order to show the enormous bluff carried out to the detriment of Mondadori and his collaborator.[5] The most relevant aspect of this act was, however, to disguise the incompetence of people who work in the Italian culture industry and to launch a sort of j’accuse against every attempt to standardize most of forms of alternative culture.

Generally speaking, the main purpose of Luther Blissett Project is about the construction of a myth of fighting, a folk hero whose identity can be shared and used for demonstrative actions. Luther Bliseett wants to hit the system of mass communication in order to – as Blissett explains – re-appropriate of a ludic practice and show a different relationship with mass media (Blissett, 2000, p. XXIII – XXIV). Like Robin Hood, the intention is to hit and then to go into hiding thanks to the loss of individual identity. Many other groups have used a collective or multiple name in order to carry out performance acts at a social or artistic level. Some of the most influential, from which Luther Blissett takes inspiration, come from the context of the ‘70s. The rise of multiple-use name, for instance, is mostly evident and popularized in the ‘70s and ‘80s, especially within artistic subcultures like Mail Art and Neoism. The latter is a specific subcultural network of artistic performance and media experimentalists guided, broadly speaking, by a practical underground philosophy. It operates by means of collectively shared pseudonyms and identities. Most of its activism is arranged through pranks, paradoxes, plagiarism and fakes, and, as a consequence, has created multiple contradicting definitions of itself in order to defy any categorization and historical and spatial location. In spite of the confusion that surrounds Neoism, origins of the movement can be located  in the mid-to late 1970 Canada, with the coinage of the multiple identity Monty Cantsin, which was centered around the idea of an “open pop star”.[6]

Within the contemporary context, a further development of mass communication technology has led to a different approach of antagonism. In this context, I would like to draw the attention on two aspects that I think are essential to understand the project purposes. The first is about the ideological and ethical meaning which lies behind a kind of media pranks as shown above. The creation of elaborated bluffs as a form of art could be usefully connected and compared with the work of people who exploit media with the aim of giving an altered representation of reality by means of printed press, television, the Web and every form of media. The use of the same technique of spin doctors and media minders could be an interest issue of discussion about the relationship between the source of information and the circulation of news within media environment.

The second aspect is about the cultural implications of the use of collective name into societies at advanced level of capitalism and technological development. The loss of individual identity calls for a sort of analysis of the antagonism against every form of power and surveillance status and, furthermore, for a reflection about intellectual property and copyright.

 

 

From PR to antagonism: how affecting the public sphere

 

One of the most important aspects in the Luther Blissett’s performances is a deep knowledge of information techniques in order to exploit the circulation of information via mass media and, eventually, to realize its purposes. This has been largely shown in one of their most famous and complex pranks.

This was played by dozens of people in Latium, central Italy, in 1997. It lasted one year and was placed in the backwoods of Viterbo, involving newsworthy issues like black rituals, Satanism and spreading of media panic. Local and national media reported for a long time news about the activity of a satanic sect placed in Viterbo. Like the TV show about missed people, facts were not scrupulously checked. Rather, the circulation of the news helped the diffusion of panic among population, leading politicians to claim officially a war against Satanism.[7] When Luther Blissett claimed its responsibility by means of local newspapers for the whole prank and the production of the sheer amount of evidences, Blissett activists called their act as an example of homeopathic counter-information (Blissett, 2000, p. xxxi): in other words, by injecting a calculated dose of false news in the media, they meant to show the unprofessional way of working of many reporters, and how easy was to exploit media as a resonance box for the diffusion of the panic. The hoax was praised and analyzed by scholars and media experts, and became a case study in several academic texts.

I think this kind of technique may be found, in its very pure manifestation, within the activity of the so called information management that, during the twentieth century, has developed officially under the name of Public Relations. Indeed, the exploitation of mass media aimed at the management of reality through the press or television is not only something made for fun (like Orson Wells has shown by means of the radio), but it has increasingly become a profession. Already in the ‘60s, Daniel Boorstin (1961) wrote about the turning from News Gathering to the News Making. As Boorstin has noted, one of the most relevant aspect in the field of news diffusion is the creation of what he calls pseudo-events, a ‘new kind of synthetic novelty which has flooded our experience’ (1961, p. 9).[8] This kind of event is symptomatic ‘of a revolutionary change in our attitude toward what happens in the world, how much of it is new, and surprising, and important.’ (1961, p. 9). In other words, a pseudo-event is an artificial event, created since the beginning with the aim of call attention and planned for specific purposes. The main features of the pseudo-event, as Boorstin indicates, are 1) to be not spontaneous, but planned, planted or incited; 2) that the event is planned primarily for the purpose of being reported and reproduced; 3) to be ambiguous, and this is the very kind of relation with the event and reality itself; 4) to be intended as a self-fulfilling prophecy. The increase of the importance of the pseudo-events in the half century is a symptom of consequent changes in news making in the nineteenth century. All this was also supported by the Graphic Revolution, with the appearance of rotary press and accordingly with the increased speed of printing. The development of photography brought to a further change with the introduction of visual communication. Thanks to the diffusion of newspapers on a daily basis and the consequent rise of the profession of journalism, newspaper collaborators found themselves not only reporting everything newsworthy from the real world, but also searching stories which could suit audience’s interests. And many times they had to make up the news in order to fill the pages.

More recently, since the 1970 and 1980 the field of news production has become an highly competitive sector (Palmer, 2000; Davis, 2003), and, at the same time, with the rise of the journalists professionalism another profession was created in order to manage the source of the information. The rise of Public Relations, in this sense, is not a recent phenomenon. It is based on the increase of their counterpart, that is journalism,[9] but raised dramatically during the ‘80s and the ‘90s (Habermas, 1989; Minchie, 1998; Palmer, 2000; Davis, 2003), affecting in particular the world of business and politics (Palmer, 2000; Davis, 2003; McNair, 2004). In the latter, the profession of the so called spin doctor became particularly popular in Britain (McNair, 2004) and brought to an animated discussion about the moral and ethical implications of these characters in relation to the activity of politicians.[10] What is relevant here is that, since the birth and increase of public relations, we have assisted to a gradual process of commodification of the information flow. As news has become something to be sold, a general shift to what is newsworthy and what is not has occurred, and the entire information flow has become dependant on business and political strategy of communication.[11]  

In The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere (1989) Jurgen Habermas faces the question of the rise of public relations sector, underlying like ‘in the advanced countries of the West they have come to dominate the public sphere during the last decade’ (Habermas, 1989, p. 193). According to Habermas, information management runs the risk to give the realm of public debates to private enterprises who aim at the manipulation of public opinion. Referring to Habermas, McNair explains:

 

[T]he application of the various techniques associated with the public relation undermines the communicative and discursive standards required of a healthy democracy. The manufactured messages of the public relations professional are seen to subvert the free flow of information in the public sphere, thwarting the citizen’s exercise of rational choice. Public relations is viewed as a part of an unwelcome corruption of democracy. (McNair, 2004, p. 325).  

 

As others has pointed out, it is like ‘[t]he brief flowering of the bourgeois public sphere is sandwiched, in STPS’s narrative, between two moments of “representation”: feudal pomp and modern PR’ (Durham Peters, 1993, p. 562).[12] Accordingly, the main threat in contemporary societies is the refeudalisation of the public sphere (Habermas, 1989). In other words, the construction of public opinion relies again on a kind of representational and supernatural authority exercised before the rise of bourgeois society in the eighteenth century. This is because strategic communication leads to the fulfilment of political or commercial goals, trying to find a sort of alignment within the behaviour of population and private aims to achieve. In this sense, modern information management uses communication techniques and means for strategic (and private) purposes solely, without considering the act of pure and genuine communication between citizens (Salter, 2005).

Following Habermas, it can be said that, thanks to the modern circulation and production of news and through the re-instauration of a feudal type of representation, all this would bring to a sort of infection of the public sphere. It could be useful to see the practice of information management in relation to the Luther Blissett Project’s homeopathic counter-information: analyzing their acts in relation to the main techniques of spin, it seems apparently that the structure of their media bluff is close to the work of any public relation office. They operate in fact becoming the source of information through the creation of a pseudo-event, and perpetuate the prank through the construction of a manufactured message. This practice of media guerrilla, as they explains, is played in the twilight zone which surrounds what they call the verifiable core of the news. This uncertain area is built on myths, urban legends, hearsays, that journalists exploit in order to turn a news into something more attractive, that can be sold more easily (Blissett, 2000, p. xxxi). By the way, the concept of  homeopathic counter-information shown above could be seen as a sort of antidote to the infection of the modern public sphere. The process of injecting a calculated dose of false news in the media is, in this context, not different from every process of information management. What is different is the lack of any commercial or political objectives to achieve, because these pranks are only a sort of act of demonstration. Furthermore, the revelation of the media bluff by means of media themselves suggests to citizens a reflection upon how easy is to manipulate the source of information, and, moreover, how easy is to create a pseudo-event aimed to attract the media interest. Attracting the attention of journalists with appealing pieces of news, or trying to understand which news is relevant or fashionable in a particular place at a particular time is a way of exploiting the role of pseudo-events in the contemporary culture industry. On the other hand, if in Luther Blissett’s view the revelation of the bluff is the final stage of a general act of demonstration, for others this is the worst thing that could happen. For strategic communication, that works for commercial purposes or for taking the attention away from a uncomfortable fact, the revelation of what “lies behind” is the failure of the strategy rather than the success.

 

 

The elusiveness of the rhizome: a model for contemporary antagonism

 

After having analysed the way in which news production nowadays is commodified, I think it is relevant to study the Luther Blissett phenomenon in the light of recent studies on alternative media. More precisely, I will focus the attention on the relationship between the multiple-use name and the form of power in contemporary societies.

Before examining the mode of action of multiple-use name, I think it is relevant to analyze the idea of power given by some thinkers in recent years, and the consequent transformation undergone by this concept. Despite the area of interest is vast, I would like to focus the attention on the passage from the form of disciplinary societies, given by Michel Foucault, to the form of societies of control given by Gilles Deleuze. This will bring me to argue the elusiveness of multiple-use name in societies where surveillance is turned into a form of dataveillance (Yar, 2005) thanks to the rapid rise of computer technology, as well as the conceptualization of a specific structure of the Luther Blissett phenomenon.

In Postscripts on the Societies of Control Deleuze points out that contemporary societies are witnessing the dissolution of every institutional boundary, leading to a process of decentralization of every previous form of power. Foucault (1980) had theorised the birth of disciplinary societies as a replacement of the previous system of sovereignty. This led to the rise of institutions – such as schools, hospitals, prisons or factories – which were able to exercise power by means of discourses. As Deleuze notes, ‘[t]he disciplinary societies have two poles: the signature that designates the individual, and the number or administrative numeration that indicates his o her position within a mass’ (Deleuze, 1995, p. 445). In societies of control, on the other hand, power is not fixed or centralized any more, but is rather nomadic and exercised through abstract representations like codes, data and passwords. In this context, ‘[w]e no longer find ourselves dealing with the mass/individual pair. Individuals have become dividuals, and masses, samples, data markets, or banks’ (Deleuze, p. 445). This transformation in also visible through the machines that power uses to exercise control:

 

Types of machines are easily matched with each type of society – not that machines are determining, but because they express those social forms capable of generating them and using them. The old society of sovereignty made use of simple machines – levers, pulleys, clocks; but the recent disciplinary societies equipped themselves with machines involving energy, with the passive danger of entropy and the active danger of sabotage; the societies of control operate with machines of a third type, computers, whose passive danger is jamming and whose active one is piracy and the production of viruses. (Deleuze, p. 446)

 

Although Deleuze refers here to the virus in the field of computer technology, I think it may be relevant to carry out the metaphor of infection, that has been shown above, to examine the nature of the antagonism of the Luther Blisset Project. In many passages of its manifesto, Luther Blissett has often compared their action with that of a virus (Blissett, 2000, XXIV and XLVI): a calculated dose of false news (the core of verifiable news) is put in circulation. Successively, it links itself with the general process of news production and goes, at the and, to infect the flow of information, that is effectively embodied by the dissemination of moral panic for something that has never happened. What is relevant, however, is that the revelation of the prank works like the antidote to the infection which is given exactly by the material authors. All this has been made with the intention of revealing the whole mechanism: this raises several and crucial questions about who actually acts as a virus and who actually would infect Habermas’ public sphere. If these pranks are performed with the aim to make people aware of a more balanced relationship between mass media and individuals (Blissett, 2000), it is possible to argue that probably the real infection is perpetrated by those who seek to hide their practice and exploit news production for strategic purposes. What has been called a viral attack could be seen, at the end, as the ethical implication.

At the same time, it is significant that, in this study’s perspective, a nomadic and decentralized form of power, as highlighted in Deleuze’s societies of control, leads consequently to a mutation of the concept of antagonism. Luther Blissett has noted that the simple counter-information is not effective anymore because the context and “the enemy” have radically changed. Consequently, I think it is essential to draw the attention on the structure of the multiple-use name in relation to the post-panoptical form of social control. As a result, to contrast a decentralized form of power, a decentralized form of antagonism is needed.

For these reasons, I will adopt here another metaphor taken from Deleuze and Guattari works (1976). I think it is fruitful to analyze the loss of the individual identity through the lens of the concept of the rhizome. The metaphor of the rhizome is used by Deleuze and Guattari to give an idea about a way of thinking which is not centralized, but is rather characterised by principles of connection and heterogeneity, multiplicity and rupture. This kind of thinking is opposed to the arbolic structure, which is by contrary linear, hierarchic and sedentary. Generally speaking, the rhizome has not a centre, but many nodal points, and one of the main features is to be accessible from many entries. Furthermore, if a part of the rhizome is cut off , it is able to find alternatively new directions and to link randomly with other points or nodes.

The recent work Understanding Alternative Media has advanced a rhizomatic approach to interpret some of contemporary alternative media. One of the main feature of this interpretation is the highly level of elusiveness through which a rhizomatic alternative media works.

 

The concept  of multiplicity construct the rhizome not on the basis of elements each operating within fixed sets of rule, but as an entity whose rules are constantly in motion because new elements are constantly included. The principle of asignifying rupture means that ‘a rhizome may be broken, shattered at a given spot, but it will start up again on one of its old lines, or on new lines. (Bailey, Cammaert, Carpentier, 2008, p.27, citing Deleuze and Guattari, 1987, p. 9)

 

Its intrinsic being constantly in motion, its fluidity and its quality of being pluri-accessible make an alternative media based on a rhizomatic structure hardly difficult to identify and, at the same time, it is complex to find the source of their message production. In this perspective, we can consider the action and the structure of Luther Blissett Project as based on a rhizomatic structure. The loss of the individual identity and the sharing of a multiple-use name calls for the abandonment of one of the most strict parameter through which societies of control exercise their power: that is to say, the proper name. This embodies the last resort through which control can be exercised. On the other hand, the renunciation of the proper name makes it difficult to identify any physical action or intellectual production., undermining in this way every form of dataveillance. The adoption of the multiple name is, in this perspective, rhizomatic because its elusiveness and heterogeneity are disguised  under the homogeneity of a unique name. In this context, any question about intellectual property is erased, and any attempt to locate a centre is undermined.

In its attempt to demonstrate how easy is to make fun of culture industry, the Luther Blissett phenomenon has shown how much difficult is trying to locate an entity which has no centre and is rhizomatic in any development. It is impossible, in this sense, to behead something that has no head. Therefore, if everyone can be Luther Blissett, no one could be at the same time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


[1] According to Wikipedia, the last action marked by the name Luther Blissett was on 2007, to the detriment of the publication of the last Harry Potter’s novel.

[2] As the BBC suggests, the name Blissett, one of the first black footballers to play in Italy, may have been chosen to make a statement against right-wing extremists in the country (Source: Wikipedia).

[3] After the end of the project, four of the veterans funded the collective Wu Ming, a narrative ensemble in which they create novels by sharing a multiple identity.

[4] It is relevant to mention that the owner of Mondadori is Silvio Berlusconi. This gives more importance to this action because of the political orientation and the influence of Berlusconi in Italy on one hand and, on the other, the political idea and orientation which lies behind the Luther Blisset Project.

[5] Although the revelation, the book sold well. This was not because the contents of the book were good, but rather because it had been taken as the masterpiece of the Luther Blissett Project. 

[6] Other multiple names in use are Geoffrey Cohen, Omar Ravenhurst and Karen Eliot. Furthermore, the Avant-Garde pre-text include the pseudonym Rrose Selavy, that was jointly used by Dada artist Marcel Duchamp and surrealist poet Robert Desnos.

[7] There was even video footage of a rather clumsy satanic ritual abuse that was broadcasted on national TV. It was, obviously, a fake video.

[8] As Boorstin explains, ‘the common prefix pseudo comes from the Greek word meaning false, or intended to deceive’ (1961, p. 9).

[9] It is relevant to mention that the first pioneering study about Public Relations and the making of pseudo-events is actually a 1923 book, that is Crystallizing Public Opinion by Edward L. Bernays. He has been a sort of guru of the world of PR in the United States, and he is still famous for having exploited and associated the image of independent women and feminist activism with the Lucky Strike advertising campaign. 

[10] The interest around the work of spin doctors and public relation officers was not obviously a good thing for a profession that needs to work in the shadows and, at the end, a general process of demonization occurred (McNair, 2004).

[11] As Lynda Dyson has noted, since information management is changing the relation between journalism, public relation and marketing, ‘there is an urgent need to explore the ethical issues posed by transactions across what can be broadly termed the “information economy”’ (Dyson, 2000, p. 61).

[12] STPS stands for Habermas’ The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere.

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6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

hey paolo,
it’s great to see you!

Comment by aristea

[…] phenomenon, Paolo at In Media Res provides a long and thoughtful description and examination in The Luther Blissett Project: a viral attack on the modern infosphere, which mainly deals with the Italian example, although his points are well-made in the […]

Pingback by Al-Qaeda - the new Luther Blissett? « ubiwar.com

This was really interesting Paolo. Have you read Q? I haven’t, and don’t know very much about it, but I’m a bit disappointed to read on Wikipedia that the authors now identify themselves as Wu Ming and, whilst they avoid photos and filming, have revealed their identities.

I suppose they are still sidestepping (rather than subverting) the spectacle of public media life, but I must say that I’m disappointed to even be given a name to attach to these figures. No longer a phantom Robin Hood character to imagine lurking behind the scenes. I wonder if it is now possible to exist entirely anonymously with a popular media presence? Banksy would perhaps be an example, but again thats just one figure (we all assume) rather than a more illicit communal identity.

Comment by sam

I’ve not read Q actually but I think you should. It talks about a kind of spin doctor at the time of inquisition. The man who acts under the name Q works in the shadows of the Pope (Paolo IV, one of the most cruel pope in history) and so on…
Regarding Wu Ming, I agree with you in a sense, but I think they are more oriented towards the literary production now (they publish also individually,under the name Wu Ming 1, 2, etc.), rather than towards media guerrilla. It’s closer to a pseudonym than to a collective name.
Anyway, thanks!

Comment by morva

I’ve not read Q but I think you should actually. It talks about a kind of spin doctor at the time of inquisition. His name was Q and he worked in the shadows for the Pope Paolo IV, one of the most cruel popes in history.
Regarding Wu Ming, I agree with you in a sense, but I think they are now more oriented towards the literary production, rather than media guerrilla. They also work individually (They publish under Wu Ming 1, 2, etc.), and it seems to me closer to a pseudonym and not to a collective name.
Anyway, thanks!

Comment by morva

[…] It’s long and relies heavily on a post at the blog In Media Res and which is still available here. My contribution isn’t particularly insightful but it came to mind again earlier today, […]

Pingback by Anonymous and media subversion « Assembling Cyber Security




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