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Temporary Autonomous Zone

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T.A.Z.: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism is a book by anarchist writer Hakim Bey. It is composed of three sections, "Chaos: The Broadsheets of Ontological Anarchism," "Communiques of the Association for Ontological Anarchy," and "The Temporary Autonomous Zone."


The book describes the socio-political tactic of creating temporary spaces that elude formal structures of control. The essay uses various historical and philosophical examples, all of which suggest that the best way to create a non-hierarchical system of social relationships is to concentrate on the present and on releasing one's own mind from the controlling mechanisms that have been imposed on it.

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.

The titular section is divided up into the following subsections:

  1. Pirate Utopias
  2. Waiting for the Revolution
  3. The Psychotopology of Everyday Life
  4. The Net and the Web
  5. "Gone to Croatan"
  6. Music as an Organizational Principle
  7. The Will To Power as Disappearance
  8. Ratholes in the Babylon of Information

Influence on music[edit]

The 1992 album Transmutation (Mutatis Mutandis) by Praxis features quotes from TAZ in its liner notes.

Bill Laswell produced an album featuring Hakim Bey reading excerpts from TAZ with music by Material featuring Wu Man, Nicky Skopelitis, and Buckethead. It was released by Axiom in 1994. The six tracks were: "Chaos", "Poetic Terrorism", and "Amour Fou" (all from "Chaos: The Broadsheets of Ontological Anarchism"), "Immediatism", and "The Tong" (both from the book Immediatism), and "Boycott Cop Culture" (from "Communiques of the Association for Ontological Anarchy").

Bey's line "art as crime; crime as art" from "Poetic Terrorism" was sampled by Negativland in their song "Downloading" from their album No Business.

Example implementations[edit]

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 Temporary Autonomous Zone put into practice, if only very briefly.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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