Born in Bologna, Franco Berardi is an activist and Marxist theoretician. His work is a critical analysis of the media and its impact on capitalist structures. Bifo's curriculum is proof of this inexhaustible interest in the role of the media, not only because of the many works he has written, but also through his involvement in numerous alternative dissemination, education and communication projects, from the legendary Radio Alice, which he co-founded, to the more recent telestreet movement and Orfeo TV channel.
Radio Alice was a free radio project that was created in Bologna in the late seventies by a group that brought left-wing activists together with artists who worked with counterinformation, or what Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi (one of the core members) called ‘the creation of divergent realities’.
Perhaps to the surprise of the powers that be, the liberalisation of the radio airwaves that brought with it the country’s first free and non-commercial radio stations soon gave way to a local, short-range guerrilla movement that ruptured the long, tedious monopoly of the state media. Radio Alice was by no means the only free radio experiment in Italy, but in spite of its short lifespan – the station initially operated from 9 February 1976 to 12 March 1977 – it had a strong influence on the social and political life of the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region.
Reflecting the opinions, obsessions, and stories of its listeners and organisers, and establishing itself as a creative platform in the new non-commercial radio space, this small neo-dada bastion was an important piece in the jigsaw puzzle of life in Bologna, eventually amplifying the voice of the popular uprising and the clashes between students and the police in early 1977 (the chain of events that eventually led the station to be shut down).
The strong personality of Radio Alice was more than just the sum of the points of views of the original collective (Franco Berardi, Paolo Ricci, Filippo Scòzzari and Maurizio Torrealta, among others). Rather, it can be seen as a complex collage of the ideas of the autonomous movement (which emerged in Italy in the sixties) mixed with the influence of the Situationists, the pre-punk seed that was starting to spread in Europe, and the work of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari.