Luther Blissett

collective pseudonym used by cultural activists

Luther Blissett is a multiple-use name, an "open pop star" informally adopted and shared by hundreds of artists and activists all over Europe and the Americas since 1994. The pseudonym first appeared in Bologna, Italy, in mid-1994, when a number of cultural activists began using it for staging a series of urban and media pranks and to experiment with new forms of authorship and identity. From Bologna the multiple-use name spread to other European cities, such as Rome and London, as well as countries such as Germany, Spain, and Slovenia. Sporadic appearances of Luther Blissett have been also noted in Canada, the United States, Finland and Brazil. For reasons that remain unknown, though according to one former member the decision was based purely on the perceived comic value of the name, the pseudonym was borrowed from a real-life Luther Blissett, a notable association football player, who played for A.C. Milan, Watford F.C. and England in the 1980s. In December 1999, the Italian activists who had launched the Luther Blissett Project in 1994 decided to discontinue usage of the name by committing symbolic ritual suicide, or seppuku. After authoring the best-selling historic novel Q as "Luther Blissett", five of them went on to found the writers' collective Wu Ming.
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