The Italian bestseller list as appearing today in La Stampa daily paper,
book sales 16-22 November 2009.
Aren’t we your heroes?
The Italian bestseller list as appearing today in La Stampa daily paper,
book sales 16-22 November 2009.
Aren’t we your heroes?
An Open Letter from Italy to Sonia Gandhi, president of the Indian National Congress and chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance, in defence of Taslima Nasreen, writer, poetess and humanist
Dear Ms Sonia Gandhi,
You, whose roots are in the country where we live, have long been one of the most important and influential politicians in India – a big, complex, vigorous secular nation.
This is the reason why we – Italian writers, intellectuals, poets and artists – write to you, asking that you intervene to help a great writer, known all over the world and long persecuted for no other fault than loving freedom and fighting for the rights and dignity of women: Taslima Nasreen.
As you certainly know, Taslima’s native language is Bengali and her country is Bangladesh, but she is prevented from returning there, due to threats and pressures from fanatic Islamist groups that have placed two fatwahs upon her and put several bounties on her head, to punish her pride and counter her battle for freedom and equality of all human beings. (more…)
We are among the many co-authors (including the likes of Bruce Sterling and Maurizio Cattelan) of this newly released book covering the 1999-2009 activities of our friends, comrades and former fellow Blissetts Eva and Franco Mattes, aka 0100101110101101.org. In the wake of the LBP’s “Seppuku” (December ’99), two groups were born of Luther’s ashes, and they have never ceased to co-operate closely, e.g. we took part in their United We Stand stunt (a worldwide promotional campaign for a non-existing movie). Here’s the book’s flap blurb:
Featuring previously unseen works, this book is the first official monograph on the artists-provocateurs Eva and Franco Mattes aka 0100101110101101.ORG. Over the last ten years, the Mattes have manipulated video games, Internet technologies, feature films and street advertising to reveal truths concealed by contemporary society. They have created media facades believable enough to elicit embarrassing reactions from governments, the public and the art world, and they have orchestrated several unpredictable mass performances, staged outside art spaces and involved unwitting audiences in scenarios that mingle truth and falsehood to the point of being indistinguishable.
This book brings together all these exploits, including the anecdotes, indictments and controversies that have always accompanied them. At the same time the book reveals the couple’s very first (and until now undisclosed) work: Stolen Pieces. Over two years, 1995-97, they toured the world’s most important museums and stole dozens of fragments from well-known works by artists such as Duchamp, Kandinsky, Beuys and Rauschenberg. This work, which has remained a secret for 14 years, is revealed and discussed here for the very first time.
This unique book is a combination of history and fiction, criticism and plagiarism, jesting and journalism.
With texts by Domenico Quaranta, Bruce Sterling, RoseLee Goldberg, Wu Ming, Fabio Cavallucci, Maurizio Cattelan, Joline Blais and Jon Ippolito, Tilman Baumgärtel, Marco Deseriis and Matthew Mirapaul, 144 pages, 243 illustrations
Tonight, November 18, I’ll be at New School, Room 510, Alvin Johnson / J. M. Kaplan Hall, 66 West 12th Street, 8 PM. Free event.
On November 20 I’ll at Bluestockings, 172 Allen Street, (Lower East Side, between Stanton and Rivington). 7 PM. Free event.
On November 23 I’ll read from Manituana at PS122, 150 First Avenue (East Village, corner of East 9th Street). 7:30 PM. $6.
Open letter to Honourable Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, President of the Republic of Brazil and Chief Magistrate of the Brazilian Nation, and to the Brazilian people
“Thirty years can change a lot of things in somebody’s life, and sometimes those years can be the whole life itself.”
Albert Camus, The man in revolt
If we look at our past from a historical point of view, how many among us can honestly say they never wanted to assert their own humanity, to develop all its aspects in wide freedom? Very few are the men and women of my generation who did not dream of a different world, one that would be more just.
However, out of sheer curiosity or circumstances, only a few decided to embark on the fight, sacrificing their own life.
My personal story is well enough known and there is no need to explain again the causes that led me to choose armed struggle. You just have to know that we were thousands, some died, others were arrested, and many are in exile.
We knew we could end this way. How many examples of failing revolutions has history provided us with? Halts and restarts, mistakes and losses. But not everything is lost, the dream is still alive! (more…)
Christopher Tayler spent a day with us in Bologna and now his article is in today’s The Guardian:
The group also persuaded a famous investigative show to look into the case of one Harry Kipper, a non-existent English artist who was said to have vanished in Italy while tracing the word “art” on the continent by bike.
The British avant-gardist Stewart Home, who obligingly posed as a concerned friend of Kipper’s when an Italian TV crew duly showed up in London, became friendly with the future Wu Mings at this time. They were, he says, “very smart and very funny”, lovers of good food and drink who were also up for “lots of headbanging discussions of Marx and left-communist theorists such as Amadeo Bordiga. I went over to Italy and they hosted a reading for me. They even put me up in a flat, and a riot went off in the street outside while I was there – so they really were the perfect hosts.”
If Italy has a tarnished reputation, that’s because we don’t cherish and export what is really of value. Or rather, we focus on too few things, always the same, and ignore too many others. Instead of drawing horrible logos or starting implausible websites such as italia.it, why not dig in the “shadow cones” of history, looking for unexpected flagship examples of “Italianity”?
Did you know that it was an Italian immigrant to the U.S. who invented the car bomb? Yes, it happened in 1920. The innovator was an anarchist from Romagna named Mario Buda, also known as Mike Boda. The explosion destroyed the headquarters of the J.P. Morgan Inc. bank on Wall Street. There were deaths and injuries, and tons of documents were reduced to a snow of confetti covering the surrounding streets. The New York Times called the attack “an act of war.” It was “asymmetric war”, of course: on one side, the power of finance. On the other, a shoemaker from Savignano sul Rubicone. To be precise, it wasn’t exactly a car, because the bomb was placed on a horse-drawn wagon. However, it was the first time a parked vehicle was used as a high potential weapon. It’s a record held by Italy, and yet very few people know about it, and those who know prefer to skate over. So much (appropriate) ardour in defending Antonio Meucci against the impostor Graham Bell, whereas there’s nobody saying: “For evil or for good, Buda was the first to have that idea!” The inventor of car bombs. We’re not talking about petty things, are we? (more…)
[This article was published on the Italian edition of GQ magazine in July 2009]
Only a few relatives and aficionados celebrated the quarter-century of the death of Peter Kolosimo, the 1970s “fantarcheologist” and paleo-ufologist who fed the multitudes with dreams and visionary books. He died at sixty-two on March 24, 1984, but we like to think that he just left the planet.
Kolosimo is a figure to be rediscovered: he left us with many questions and his heritage is still meaningful. Timeless Earth, Not of This World, Space-ships in Prehistory, Odissea Stellare, Italia Mistero Cosmico… Those titles have never ceased to arouse our fantasies. And what’s with those lists on the frontcovers, halfway between subtitles and newspaper placelines? “Ulysses as a time traveller. The gods and outer space. Cyclops in America? Mythology of other worlds. Atomic bombs and robots in Homer’s epic.” Or: “Spacecraft graffiti in the rocks. Martians in Vietnam, elephants in America. Unknown races in the Amazon jungles. Atomic bombs and lasers before the flood. Is Gilgamesh still alive?”
Not to mention such blurbs as: “The first comprehensive photographic documentation of space archaeology – 300 pictures.” (more…)
…while James Fenimore Cooper is spinning in his grave, at least according to Todd McEwen. His review of Manituana appeared in The Guardian, it’s funny and laden with names of writers, poets and painters from the days of yore.
Brant and his people keep their side of a firm pact to support the Crown in spite of their outsider status. Indian warriors, Irish and Highlander Catholics, “Papists and pagans” alike fight for King George as “two tribes of masked men”. But fight they do, in the face of British equivocations and compromises. Yet in one bloody and colourful skirmish after another, the Indian nations’ “Longhouse” begins to crack under the rebel onslaught. George Washington and his raggle-taggle bands of chancers, predators and bigots so far from the upstanding heroes of America’s deepest myth seek to drown an ancient culture in “lakes of tears and rivers of blood”.
What saves the Wu Ming crew from romantic sentimentalism is a trademark sophistication about political ideas and their impact on both words and deeds. Philip, a French captive who has literally gone native to become the Mohawk’s fiercest brave, reads Voltaire and Rousseau and reminds a patronising lady that “many European things are circulating in the American forests”. Exploring this already hybrid world, Manituana dismantles the delusion of the simple “noble savage” as shrewdly as it debunks the usual patriotic pageantry of 1776 and all that.
A virtuoso middle section (again rooted in real events) sends Brant, Philip and Johnson’s son-in-law to London, where they aim to reinforce the Indian alliance of equals with the Crown. Fawned over as a “ceremonial beast” in salons and palaces, Brant also brushes against the squalor and despair of the capital’s poor. With a firework display of thieves’ cant and gang jargon, an electrifying high point of Shaun Whiteside’s swift but subtle translation, the “Mohocks of Soho” who actually existed hint at the grim underclass destiny that lies in store for defeated traditional peoples all around the world. Wu Ming do sometimes graft the preoccupations of today onto the events of yesterday. Philip, for example, has a vision of “a London as big as the world”, where free-market individualism has gobbled up the planet and its once-proud communities. Mostly, however, Manituana shuns anachronism as it sets about delivering a fast-flowing, densely peopled, richly decorated story of a precious way of life, and thought, on the brink of the modern abyss. As for Wu Ming and their bewitching fictional fellowship, let’s hope that many moons will pass before we see the last of these mysterious Mohicans.
“Basically, they’re trying to write V, The Odyssey, Casino Royale, Underworld, Pereira Declares and The Godfather all at once. And have fun with all of them.”
(Bjorn from Stockholm, reviewing 54 on World Literature Forum)
“I’m gonna get this description tattooed on my butt!”
(Wu Ming 2 from Bologna, commenting on the quote above)
It’s official, the Dixon Place event won’t be at Dixon Place. See you at PS122 (click to enlarge the pic). Here’s the news release:
Dixon Place and PS 122
are proud to present
Experiments and Disorders
with Wu Ming 1 and Wu Ming 5 (formerly Luther Blissett)
and Justin Taylor.
Monday November 23rd, 7:30 PM, $6.00
at PS 122
150 First Avenue (corner of East 9th Street) Directions: L train to 1st Avenue, F/V train to 2nd Avenue, N/R to 8th Street, 6 to Astor Place (more…)
He keeps making that mistake. “I am neither blackmailed nor blackmailable”.
We predicted this a few months ago:
“I did not have any spicy relationships with underage girls” is a clear framing mistake, one doesn’t have to be George Lakoff to understand that. It’s a trivial truth that negating the frame re-activates the frame.
Here, we have a statement in the glorious tradition of Nixon’s “I am not a crook” (1973). Back then, the negative particle was immediately forgotten, and what stuck to the audience’s brains was an association between NIXON and CROOK.
This time around, everyone’s going to remember this cluster of concepts: BERLUSCONI – SPICY RELATIONSHIPS – UNDERAGE GIRLS.
And that’s exactly what happened.
Now he makes it again. For many years this guy has been regarded as “a great communicator”. We never believed such crap. (more…)
Here. It had to happen sooner or later. As we Italians say in these cases: Non ci facciamo mancare niente (“We make so that we don’t lack anything”). Perhaps these guys arrived too late though. All the seats are occupied. Who needs the KKK when we have the Northern League and all kinds of neo-fascist groups? Maybe, as happens in the US, they’ll proselitise mainly in the South (but only if they reach an agreement with the mafias). Who knows, the situation in Italy is such that there may be a great power vacuum just around the corner. In a power vacuum, every worm finds some flesh to eat.