Towards a Collective Intelligence: Transmediality and the Wu Ming Project

Melina Anne Masterson


Since the dawn of the Italian Second Republic, former Prime Minister Berlusconi’s tactics of media domination, as well as his approach to culture creation, have had a considerable effect on the Italian imaginary. The collective Wu Ming, through their multisensorial and multimedial approach to writing, are among those intellectuals who question the cultural paradigms that have become hegemonic in Italy over the last twenty years. The experience of a Wu Ming novel extends past the printed word, as they experiment with all five senses to enhance the way in which the reader lives the content on the page, providing clear examples of Henry Jenkins’s «convergence culture» at work. This essay focuses specifically on the interplay of word and image in Wu Ming’s use of the social media site Pinterest to illustrate how this particular aspect of their project serves as a microcosm of their overall approach to culture creation and art, and how their facilitation of the collective process of consumption contributes to the formation of Arjun Appadurai’s «communities of sentiment» and Jenkins’s «collective intelligence». These formations revitalize the concept of popular culture for the digital age and offer an alternative to an Italian cultural imaginary long dominated by the practices of Berlusconism.


Wu-Ming; Transmediality; Pinterest; Transnationalism; Popular culture

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