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by Riccardo Balli (AAA Bologna)

"We don't think that UFOs and aliens are of the same nature. We believe that what has been seen in the skies is part of this planet story. A story that we're ready to tell" 103 Squadra Vril1

What follows is a report of the 23 April 1997 ufological deriving organised by AAA Bologna to celebrate the second anniversary of the AAA's Five Year Plan for establishing autonomous communities in outer space. The ufological deriving was guided by Mr Alessandro Zanotti, AAA Bologna ufologist.

San Giovanni in Monte square (Bologna) 3.30pm. The day was sunny end clear. A wonderful day in April.

Autonomous Astronaut: There you are, a wonderful day, isn't it?

A.A.: Yeah, have you got the AAA t-shirts?

A.A.: Yeah, the guys from London sent five of them. This one is for you.

A group of 5 or 6 people arrive.

Public: Is it here - the thing about UFOs?

A.A.: Yeah. How did you know about it?

P.: From the newspaper. Have a look at this fucking cool article in the "Unità"2 entitled "Here come the space revolutionaries". But what's going to happen?

Other people arrive.

A.A.: A ufological deriving.

P.: What the fuck is that?

A.A.: Well, the deriving practice was a strategy of urban subversion played by the situationists at the end of the 50s in Paris...

P.: Leave it out! Are you doing a lecture or what? I just want to fucking know what is going to happen!!

A.A.: Easy my friend. This is going to happen: a bloke named A.Zanotti, who is the AAA Bologna ufologist, will guide us through some Bologna ufological sites.

Other people arrive, amongst them a radio journalist.

P.: What is a ufological site?

A.A.: It's just place where someone has seen a UFO.

Luther Blissett arrives.

Luther Blissett: Hi guys, where is Zanotti the druid?

A.A.: He's late!

L.B.: He thinks he's a rock star, doesn't he?

A.A.: aaaahahahah!

A.A.: ahahahah!

Radio Journalist: Hi, I'm a Radio Onda D'urto3 journalist. Can you tell something about AAA? What is that?

A RAI4 TV journalist arrives.

A.A.: The AAA is an international association that wants to organise an independent space exploration programme...

J.: Cool, I know what you mean. You are neo-situationists, aren't you? I do media pranks as well. I'm a conceptual artist who lives on being a journalist, you know how it is with art, fucking difficult to live on it...

A.A.: Just a second - Zanotti is coming!

Zanotti: Hi guys, I apologise for being late. Cool t-shirts, gimme one of them immediately.

L.B.: Hi Zanotti!

Another group of people arrive.

A.A.: He's the ufologist that will lead the deriving!!!

RAI j.: Hi, I've just come to film this for the local TV news programme. I'll follow you with the camera, you are the association of astronauts, aren't you?

A.A.: The Association of Autonomous Astronauts, or "triple A", please. OK. you're allowed to film.

Zanotti: We'll wait another 5 minutes then leave!!

J.: You were saying that AAA is an international association?

A.A.: Yeah, at the moment there are AAA groups in England, Scotland, Wales, France and in Italy. But it's getting bigger everyday!!

J.: So what are you doing at AAA Bologna at the moment?

A.A.: Many things. The AAA is a network of groups that move in several directions at once and each group has its own specific interest. Personally at the moment I'm working on an anthology of AAA texts called "A taste of lunar dust: the Association of Autonomous Astronauts" to be released by an Italian publisher. Nothing is sure at the moment, but I hope to succeed in this project.

J.: Tell me about your cultural influences. The situationists in particular, I guess?

A.A.: Look, without any doubt we're influenced by the situationists, but actually dada is very important for us...

Zanotti: The dadaists have done everything in art that had to be done at the beginning of the century!!!

The journalist starts to film.

Zanotti: It's 4 o'clock. Shall we wait a little more?

L.B.: No, let's go, there are 38 of us, a fucking big group, let's go!

A.A.: The ufological deriving is starting, let everybody follow us.

J.: What do you think about ufology?

A.A.: It's a fucking popular end of the millennium subject. Just think about those mainstream movies like "Independence Day" and "Mars Attacks" or the TV series "X-files". Ufology is just a branch of AAA interests. We chose it, because we wanted to do something popular. We're fed up with some avant-garde elitism. We're interested in using (and subverting) mainstream codes.

L.B.: I have already heard about this!!!!

J.: So you are not interested in ufology?

A.A.: Yes and no. But if you want to speak specifically about ufology, have a chat with Mr. Zanotti.

J.: I got your "A day with AAA" flyer here. Is AAA also a musical group?

A.A.: Yeah, it's another A.A.A. Bologna project, the AAA Bologna sound system.

J.: What kind of music you play?

A.A.: Hard to say, let's say electronic experimental. We're very interested in what is happening in the German end Finnish electronic scene. In Helsinki there' s a fucking cool electronic scene with real experimentors, independent labels and great raves. There techno music still has a revolutionary content. Not like in Italy, where it's all shitty commercial stuff or stupid alternative cliché.

J.: You are interested in organising raves in space, aren't you?

A.A.: Yeah, we're fed up with raves in squats or in the wood. We're organising a rave in space for the year 2000.

The AAA group arrive to the first ufological site, Gates Maggiore.

Z.: This where I saw a UFO for the first time. I was only five. I used to live in that flat overlooking Gates Maggiore. It was a hot night of August. Suddenly I woke up and felt the need to open up the window. I started to look at the sky and I saw a formation of coloured rhombus. I started to stare at that object as if I was hypnotised by it. Since then I've started to read books and magazines of ufology, to meet people that share the same interests and so on. As I used to say I made an alliance with a UFO5

The AAA group leaves Gates Maggiore and direct to Trento Trieste square (Bologna).

J.: Is AAA into New Age culture?

A.A.: Not at all! Frankly I think that this new age trend is just a money or a fashion thing. The AAA hasn't got anything to do with new age, instead it has got a lot to do with the possibility of leaving this millennium behind.

J.: Can you be more explicit please?

A.A.: The AAA is a narrative game, a logic disconnection, a political perspective, a dada blurp, but above a project to escape the millennium.

J.: Can you please be more clear?

L.B.: prprprprprp!

The group arrive in Trento Trieste square. The journalist seems fucking tired of hanging around with such a heavy camera on his shoulder.

Z.: This is the second and last - for today's deriving - ufological site. It happened in July 1991. It was 8pm, I was heading to a friend's house, when I saw a very big square very high in the sky. Never could explain what it was?

P.: How big was the square?

Z.: Impossible to say it, it was too high in the sky.

P.: You didn't take any drugs or alcohol, did you?

Z.: Everyone who knows me knows that I'm straight-edge.

P.: What do you think of Centro Ufologico Nazionale6?

Z.: I respect their scientific approach to the subject, but the AAA works in a completely different way.

P.: Is this all a prank?

Z.: It's up to you.......


1) 103 Squadra Vril is a fake documentary made by some AAA's Bologna members about the Nazi research on UFOs.
2) "Unità" is an Italian newspaper. Founded by Antonio Gramsci, it's now the biggest governative "left-wing" newspaper.
3) Radio Onda D'urto is an alternative radio in Milan.
4) is the Italian radio and TV broadcasting company.
5) As I wrote at the beginning of the text, this is just a summary of the ufolgical deriving report. Here the original text goes on for longer, quoting bizarre esoteric-urbanistic references that explain Zanotti's UFO alliance.
6) Centro Ufologico Nazionale is the Italian centre for scientific UFO studies.

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