[Yesterday's tweets on what happened in Milan:]
B. called “a miracle” that he survived the assault. No, it’s a miracle he’s still around after 15 years & with such an obsession for death.
From the hospital: “Why do they hate me?” Maybe he really wonders why. For yrs he’s been living in a world apart, surrounded by yes-men.
Little girl, 4 yrs old: “Dad, what happened?” Dad: “A nutter hurt a villain”. Little girl thinks it over, then: “It’s a stupid story!”
@Meandy maybe Tartaglia and Berlusconi have more things in common than they’d want to know. Two delusional types bumped into each other.
Tartaglia from jail: “I HATE BERLUSCONI!”. Yeah, we kind of imagined that. Whatever the reason, how discourteous to jump such a long queue!
One of B’s aides “He will not exploit the assault in the next election campaign”. Usual self-negating denial, but there’s something strange.
It sounds like he and his clique were *really* taken aback, like they’re having problems trying to impose the Reichstag frame.
Opposition leader Di Pietro: “I’m no hypocrite, I won’t visit B. at the hospital”. We Rn’t fans of this guy but it’s the right thing to say.
Shopping frenzy in Milan. People rushing to buy a Duomo souvenir like the one used to smash Berlusconi’s face. No joke, it’s happening.
The right-wing wants to shut down websites and social networks where people are boisterously expressing solidarity to Tartaglia.
“Sow wind and reap whirlwind”. Because of this title on Di Pietro’s blog http://bit.ly/6yTMFP a spokesman for B’s party wants it closed down
Reports say he’s really in pain & can hardly eat. He didn’t expect it. He’s shocked. From now on, everything will be different in his life.
RT @synthjock: First Tiger Woods, now Berlusconi. It’s really not an auspicious time to be an oversexed billionaire right now.
When politicians get smacked. A top 10 list of assaults, http://bit.ly/5Fd72L
“Berlusconi looked like Floyd Patterson after a 7 round drubbing by Mohammad Ali” CounterPunch http://bit.ly/52Kk6A
Bogus pro-Berlusconi groups on Facebook. Names were changed, hordes of people found themselves enlisted as fans of B. http://bit.ly/71RLxx
Name of a huge FB group raising funds for earthquake victims changed to “Support Silvio Berlusconi against Tartaglia’s fans”.
t least 500,000 unaware people were passed on as fans of Berlusconi when FB group names were suddenly replaced, reports La Repubblica.
Until this morning, this Facebook group was devoted to promoting Italian brands, then the administrators renamed it http://bit.ly/8t5jfG
Until this morning, this Facebook group with 1 million members was devoted to protecting animals, now look at it http://bit.ly/6kqxUL
“I found him shaken, annoyed – as if woken, really out-of-sorts, from a bad dream.” A bad dream. What an interesting thing B.’s doctor said.
[Here's how we covered the event on twitter last night:]
Berlusconi punched in the face Is the Reichstag burning? Is Tartaglia a Van der Lubbe?
Does this really take us by surprise? Wasn’t it an orbital event, always on the verge of taking place?
Will there be retaliations tonight? And how long is “tonight”?
Tartaglia, the guy who hit Berlusconi in the face, is a multimedia performance artist, see his “dancing mirrors”:
He didn’t punch Berlusconi. He hit him with a small model of the Milan cathedral, which one can buy from street vendors. Performance art.
Now, if there’s one thing the Milan cathedral is, that’s *gothic*, which means acuminated. No wonder it cut Silvio’s face
Tartaglia’s first words after being arrested: “I am nobody”. Are we witnessing the return of Berlin Dada?
Is a Reichstag on fire or “He that flies justice in the court must expect to find it in the street”? Edward Sexby, 1657
Is a Reichstag on fire or “What happened to the king of Portugal is an occupational accident of kings”? Lenin, 1908
Years of facelifts & hair transplants & blepharoplastics, fake tan, thick layers of greasepaint, until at 73 he looked weirder than Jacko.
He wanted to turn his own face into a work of art, to challenge aging and death. Each David’s foot meets a Piero Cannata with a hammer.
The media is talking about it only in terms of political violence, solidarity with the premier as victim. Bad frame. The Reichstag frame.
We’ve got to understand what happened last night also in terms of culture, imaginary, the boomerang effect of icons and myths.
[WM1:] During my stay in New York City I met Ashley Dawson and Gabriella Coleman, two members of the collective editing and running the Social Text journal.
They interviewed me for about two hours. My friend and former fellow Blissett Marco Deseriis aka Snafu, who lives and teaches in NYC, took part to the conversation.
We covered a lot of issues, including our self-critique on how we dealt with “technified myths” in the months leading up to the anti-G8 days in Genoa (July 2001). We also wrote an essay about that, it will be published as an introduction to the collection of Thomas Muntzer‘s sermons which Verso is going to publish in 2010. The interview is a good introduction to the introduction…
We also talked about history, historians, Norman Cohn, the Iroquois, the difference between our work and postcolonial studies, contradictions in our cultural militancy, the current situation in Italy, our new novel Altai, the “War on Terror”, George Washington‘s genocidal strategies etc.
You can read the whole thing on the Social Text website.
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
You can order it here: Amazon.com – Amazon.co.uk
Arrived in NYC last night. Alone, for WM5 has the flu and couldn’t join me. Will stay in town (based at some mysterious place in Brooklyn) until the morning of Nov 24th. To anyone interested in getting in touch: show up at the public events or write to roberto.bui AT wumingfoundation.com or call the friends who are putting me up (contact info here
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.
Our new novel Altai is in Italian bookshops.
[With the following open letter to Brazilian president Lula Da Silva, the Italian novelist Cesare Battisti, former member of the Proletari Armati per il Comunismo, announced he was going on total hunger strike. As yet, very few people in the English speaking world know about this case (a fugitive from Italy's "Years of Lead" who, although he was granted political refugee status by the Brazilian government, is still in prison and risking extradition to Italy, where he was charged with four murders, judged in absentia and sentenced guilty on the basis of testimonies by "repentant" terrorists). Since there is no English version of the FAQs on Cesare Battisti, the only resource is the English language wikipedia entry (which fails to render the complexity of this story). In the past days the news of Battisti's hunger strike was reported by the BBC and the LA Times. Here is an article (in English) by Brazilian activist Leo Vinicius, giving at least some context. NB. Comments for this post are closed because in Italy it's impossible to rationally debate on this story in absentia of hateful, bloodthirsty trolls.]
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.
Boyd Tonkin writes:
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.
Read the full review here.
“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)
Learn more about 54.