Brief 10/3 – TAZ

Hakim Bey wrote a series of chapters capturing his concept of temporary autonomous zone (T.A.Z.). Without directly defining TAZ, Bey provides explanation for many already known concepts as well as historical events and communities that may provide the reader with insight to formulate the definition of TAZ.

I essentially perceived TAZ to be a space and time of entire freedom. He compares TAZ to a dinner party “in which all structure of authority dissolves in conviviality and celebration,” explaining that it is experienced at the ultimate intensity of living (Bey 98) because “such moments of intensity give shape and meaning to the entirety of life” (Bey 94). It captures the surge of energy and eagerness from uprisings without the violence and chaos that follows from revolutions. Bey expands on saying that “revolution has never yet resulted in achieving this dream [of freedom]” and instead falls into a cycle of revolt and reform (Bey 95).

Bey elaborates on his concept of TAZ, suggesting that “its greatest strength lies in its invisibility” because the instant it is recognized, then it will deteriorate and cease to exist (Bey 95). Perhaps it is because since we live in a time where earth is entirely claimed, the System has the technology to observe everything and would never allow a TAZ to exist where there is no power yet only freedom. I view TAZ as the polar opposite of the System, so the System would see TAZ as a threat and instantly demolish it.

Essentially, it is “a tactic of disappearance” (Bey 116), but if it could exist and prosper as a new society, would it have to forever hide from the current System? Bey suggests that it will continue to exist if it is mobilized and adaptable to stealth and change. Can a society in TAZ prosper if it could never settle down and develop but rather constantly be moving and adjusting? Is this considered a weak society, living in fear of being detected by the System? What is the purpose of TAZ if it is only temporary?

Last Wednesday, our class had a reading on idleness and its negative connotation that was created by our society that revolves around the concept of work and the action of doing. Our class developed into a discussion on how we could modify this system of work that easily manipulates and controls its power. So what options do we have to rebel against the System? Would it be better to attempt to modify the System (developed from our discussion on “Blank Is Beautiful”) or to leave the System? Is it possible to exist outside of the System, or is TAZ just an abstract concept? If it is possible and you choose to leave the System, should we fear the unknown?

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