…Within the fractal complexities of actual geography the map can see only dimensional grids. Hidden enfolded immensities escape the measuring rod.”
—Hakim Bey (The Temporary Autonomous Zone)
also by corporate marketing of “cool” and their virtual monopoly on resources.
What space is left for art, for true individuality in a world of total commodity and the pathological pursuit of profit?
Unless that art or individualism itself fits into the revenue stream, nothing.
Nothing, except rebellion, transgression, petty theft and claims of psychic spaces, temporary spaces…
what we do have is what Bey called “Hidden enfolded immensities [that] escape the measuring rod.”
A multitude of horizons exist, not only in unseen mysteries of space by right here, in our everyday lives…
One of the central ideas I wanted to invoke and contemplate in this issue of Fluxion was
The concept of temporary autonomous zone.
In his book TAZ (The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy and Poetic terrorism), Hakim Bey says “The map is closed, but the autonomous zone is open…”
When I was working on themes and ideas for the issue in 2003 it felt like the world was being turned inside out… for me, as I imagine for many, it was a time of a radical rethinking of everything. In some respects it was like starting over. I felt like I need to reeducate myself, that I had been frivolous in my life so far and painfully naive…
“Everything in nature is perfectly real including consciousness, there’s absolutely nothing to worry about. Not only have the chains of the Law been broken, they never existed; demons never guarded the stars, the Empire never got started, Eros never grew a beard. No, listen, what happened was this: they lied to you, sold you ideas of good & evil, gave you distrust of your body & shame for your prophethood of chaos, invented words of disgust for your molecular love, mesmerized you with inattention, bored you with civilization & all its usurious emotions. There is no becoming, no revolution, no struggle, no path; already you’re the monarch of your own skin–your inviolable freedom waits to be completed only by the love of other monarchs: a politics of dream, urgent as the blueness of sky.” —Hakim Bey
One of the primary themes became the map itself— looking beyond the obvious, realigning with aspects of the magical, the imagination, with our inherent power as creative individuals, beyond out capacity as consumers and beyond our credit limits.
In the formation of a TAZ, Bey argues, information becomes a key tool that sneaks into the cracks of formal procedures. A new territory of the moment is created that is on the boundary line of established regions. Any attempt at permanence that goes beyond the moment deteriorates to a structured system that inevitably stifles individual creativity. It is this chance at creativity that is real empowerment.
Guerrilla artists (I’m not talking about gang taggers here) claiming space is an act of the creative Temporary autonomous zone… in the moments they are working, they are defying the grid and reframing the conversation through sheer force of their creative will…
I wanted to create visual statments that examined the concept of the map, of the grid in contrast to various cultural and conceptual phoenomena…
I incorporated a directional compass and a map grid as symbols for the restrictions of life and direction, based on Beys statement “The map is closed, but the autonomous zone is open.”
These symbols reoccur in various forms.
With the grid: incomplete, distorted, and eventually replaced by the more dynamic strange attractor. (more on that below.)
Scenes from Burning Man are another visual used to tie into the idea of the TAZ.
The concept of TAZ was first put into practice on a large scale by the Cacophony Society in what they called Trips to the Zone, or Zone Trips. One of their Zone Trips gave birth to Black Rock City, also called the Burning Man Festival.
Smart mobs and flash mobs are also examples of the concept of TAZ put into practice, if only very briefly.
It comes down to issues of control. Political, economic, reproductive, sexual, and psychic. The nature of the unorganized, underground, private, or short term public TAZ defies these controls. As Bey points out— like the map, revolution is closed, but insurgency is open.
Insurgency may be a misleading word these days. It now suggests only violence. Violence is a negative expression of this concept, but there are many positive forms, one of the most simple and surprising is the Dinner party…
“The highest type of human society in the existing social order is found in the parlor. In the elegant and refined reunions of the aristocratic classes there is none of the impertinent interference of legislation. The Individuality of each is fully admitted. Intercourse, therefore, is perfectly free. Conversation is continuous, brilliant, and varied. Groups are formed according to attraction. They are continuously broken up, and re-formed through the operation of the same subtile and all-pervading influence. Mutual deference pervades all classes, and the most perfect harmony, ever yet attained, in complex human relations, prevails under precisely those circumstances which Legislators and Statesmen dread as the conditions of inevitable anarchy and confusion. If there are laws of etiquette at all, they are mere suggestions of principles admitted into and judged of for himself or herself, by each individual mind…” —S. Pearl Andrews, The Science of Society (from TAZ)
William S. Burroughs wrote extensively on the forces of conformity that would destroy the unique qualities of the individual in his novels, such as Naked Lunch, The Ticket that exploded, The Soft Machine,The Nova Express, Cities of the Red Night, and the Western Lands.
So much of our lives are controlled, limited by routines and work with room for little else. To any aspiring artist these limitations weigh heavily, and I can speak from experience that over time they siphon away so much creative energy that at the end of the day you just want to give up. But as artists we can can’t…
The TAZ offers a potential disruption of the routine. Even a little break from routine is exhilarating. To survive, to evolve, we must disrupt the routine whenever possible, even if we can’t break free from it.
In little ways over time we can alter this trend.
The scale of participation is the key to how far reaching the effects will be.
I used to dream of breaking free (in the traditional sense) but that no longer seems realistic.
I’m hopelessly in debt, my pay is attached directly to hours worked, and I have no other equity or resources.
I still aspire to economic independence (the the creative independence that comes with it), but remained tethered to obligations like paying the rent and food, not to mention paying down debt from past attempts to break free, for the foreseeable future.
What I CAN do is create my zine, make photographs, write this blog, connect the dots, host dinners, salons, write my representatives, get involved in any small way and engage
in civil conversation when ever possible….
These are little everyday little soul saving endeavors, mirco TAZs, like oxygen in a fish tank.
and through them anything is possible….
“Desperation is the raw material of drastic change.
Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape.”
—William S. Burroughs
“The forward step must be made in silence. We detach ourselves from word forms — this can be accomplished by substituting for words, letters, concepts, verbal concepts, other modes of expressions: for example, color. We can translate word and letter into color — Rimbaud stated that in his color vowels, words quote “words” can be read in silent color. In other words, man must get away from verbal forms to attain the consciousness, that which is there to be perceived at hand.”
“We need to escape from the deterministic influence of the point, circuit and torus attractors into the unpredictability of the Strange Attractor. This attractor is the basis of Self Organization. There is no apparent order at all to the actions of the Strange attractor. On the surface it appears to be pure Chaos, but nevertheless there is order of a subtle kind which only appears over time when looked at in the right perspective. Its analogy in consciousness is the willing function. Yet, when tied to Awareness—the Zero—it is spontaneous, unpredictable. It appears to be chaotic, yet it has order of a subtle, fractal kind.” —fractal wisdom.com An attractor is a set to which a dynamical system evolves after a long enough time. That is, points that get close enough to the attractor remain close even if slightly disturbed. Geometrically, an attractor can be a point, a curve, a manifold, or even a complicated set with a fractal structure known as a strange attractor.” —Fractalwisdom.com
“Nothing exists until or unless it is observed. An artist is making something exist by observing it. And his hope for other people is that they will also make it exist by observing it. I call it ‘creative observation.’ Creative viewing.”—William S. Burroughs
“In my writing I am acting as a map maker, an explorer of psychic areas . . . a cosmonaut of inner space, and I see no point in exploring areas that have already been thoroughly surveyed.”—WIlliam S. Burroughs
It is time for us to get off the grid altogether….
The TAZ is “utopian” in the sense that it envisions an intensification of everyday life, or as the Surrealists might have said, life’s penetration by the Marvelous. But it cannot be utopian in the actual meaning of the word, nowhere, or NoPlace Place. The TAZ is somewhere. It lies at the intersection of many forces, like some pagan power- spot at the junction of mysterious ley-lines, visible to the adept in seemingly unrelated bits of terrain, landscape, flows of air, water, animals. But now the lines are not all etched in time and space. Some of them exist only “within” the Web, even though they also intersect with real times and places. Perhaps some of the lines are “non-ordinary” in the sense that no convention for quantifying them exists. These lines might better be studied in the light of chaos science than of sociology, statistics, economics, etc. The patterns of force which bring the TAZ into being have something in common with those chaotic “Strange Attractors” which exist, so to speak, between the dimensions.— Hakim Bey (TAZ)
Find ways to disrupt your routine, create your own temporary autonomous zone (Micro) or seek and join (macro) ones you may find…open your mind to the unfolding hidden immensities of creativity…
and the subconscious—
a strange attractor—
a new map,