From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Karen Eliot is a multiple identity, a nom de plume, or multiple-use name that anyone is welcome to use for activist and artistic endeavours. It is especially popular within the Neoist movement. It was developed in order to counter the male domination of that movement, the most predominant multiple user-names being Monty Cantsin and Luther Blissett.
These multiple names were developed and popularized in artistic subcultures of the 1970s to 1990 like Mail Art, Neoism and post-Situationist discourse, with the pseudonym Rrose Sélavy jointly used by Dada artist Marcel Duchamp and the surrealist poet Robert Desnos forming a historical pretext. The political references go back much further, eg Ned Ludd, while in poetry there are precedents such as Taliesin.
In the 1960s underground culture the multiple name Emmett Grogan was adopted by San Francisco Diggers and in the 1970s the multiple name Wally was adopted by a group of squatters in around Stonehenge.