Liftarchiv


TAZ - Temporary Autonomous Zone

Video Text by Alun Rowlands

Alun Rowlands

April, 2004


Alun Rowlands broaches the issue on the search for individual forms of life. A living utopia of a newly founded life form on a former helicopter landing platform, the micro state “Sealand” on the North Sea, is visualised in the installation. The system, the state itself and the actions and movements of its resident people undergoes constant changes. The installation documents the search for an ideal form of living, which must be defended against all its adversaries.

Sealand

The Island of Sealand in the North Sea

THE SEA ROVERS AND CORSAIRS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY CREATED AN “INFORMATION NETWORK” THAT SPANNED THE GLOBE. RENEGADE COMMUNIITES TRADED LUXURIES AND NECESSITIES, LIVING OUTSIDE THE LAW. SCATTERED THROUGHOUT THE NET WERE ISLANDS, REMOTE HIDEOUTS AND HAVENS DEVOTED PRIMARILY TO GRIM BUSINESS. SOME OF THESE ISLANDS SUPPORTED COMMUNITIES, WHOLE MICRO- SOCIETIES THAT LIVED OFF THE SURPLUS OF SOCIAL OVERPRODUCTION.

MAPS ARE POLITICAL ABSTRACT GRIDS. THEY ARE NOT ACCURATE.THEY ARE CLOSED.THEY ARE THE CARTOGRAPHY OF CONTROL.AND YET BECAUSE THE MAP IS AN ABSTRACTION IT CANNOT COVER THE WORLD 1:1.WE ARE LOOKING FOR SPACES. GEOGRAPHIC. SOCIAL. CULTURAL. IMAGINARY. SPACES WITH POTENTIAL TO FLOWER. ZONES THAT HAVE ESCAPED THE MAPMAKERS.

WE WANT TO SPECULATE ABOUT SPACES WHERE LIBERTARIAN IDEALS MINGLE WITH THE BIOLOGICALLY DETERMINISTIC ASSUMPTIONS. OUR FICTION ASSUMES THAT THE DECAY OF POLITICAL SYSTEMS WILL LEAD TO A DECENTRALIZED PROLIFERATION OF EXPERIMENTS WITH LIVING: GIANT WORKER-OWNED CORPORATIONS, COMMUNES, INDEPENDENT HAVENS, ZERO WORK ENCLAVES, LIBERATED ZONES, SOCIALLY AUTONOMOUS ZONES, ECOLOGICAL AREAS.

TAZ

Temporary Autonomous Zone

MEDIEVAL ASSASINS FORMED TRANSIENT STATES THAT CONSISTED OF A NETWORK OF REMOTE MOUNTAINVALLEYS. SEPARATED STRATEGICALLY BY THOUSANDS OF MILES. CONNECTED BY AN INFORMATION FLOW OF AGENTS.A CLANDESTINE EXCHANGE DEVOTED ONLY TO KNOWLEDGE.A CAMP OF BLACK TENTS UNDER THE STARS.

WE WANT TO FORM A BAND.THE INITIATES SWORN TO A BOND OF LOVE.THE BAND IS PRODUCED BY ABUNDANCE. A HORIZONTAL PATTERN OF CUSTOM. EXTENDED KINSHIP. ALLIANCE. SPIRITUAL AFFINITIES. STRANGE ATTRACTORS. FRIENDS. LOVERS. GROUPS. SPECIAL INTEREST NETWORKS. MAIL CONTACTS.

WE THINK THE SEED OF THE NEXT SOCIETY IS TAKING SHAPE WITHIN THE SHELL OF THE OLD. SIXTIES-STYLE TRIBAL GATHERINGS. FOREST CONCLAVES. SATURNALIA. IDYLLIC POLYTHEISM.ANARCHIST CONFERENCES. ZINE NETWORKS.YOGA CIRCLES. NIGHTCLUBS. PICNICS. GROUPS SYNERGIZNG THEIR EFFORTS TO REALZE 62 MUTUAL DESIRES. FOR FOOD, HAPPINESS, DANCE, CONVERSATION, EROTIC PLEASURE OR TO CREATE A COMMUNAL ARTWORK OR TO ATTAIN BLISS.

TAZ

Temporary Autonomous Zone

OR DRAMA IS THAT OF EVERYDAY LIFE IN A CITY OF STATE. IT IS A CONSTANT FLUX BETWEEN THE CREATED AND THE RECREATED. AN EVERYDAY POLITIC LACED WITH A UTOPIAN VIDION WHERE THE FORMER FAILS SO OFTEN TO INSPIRE THE LATTER. WHAT DRAWS US TO THESE NARRATIVES? UTOPIAS ARE ALWAYS ATTRACTIVE. EVEN WHEN THEY DON;T WORK. WE THINK OF ALTERNATIVE MODELS FROM PLATO’S REPUBLIC TO CORBUSIER’S RADIANT CITY. WE LOVE UPTOPIAS. MAYBE IT IS BECAUSE THEY REPRESENT AN ETERNAL LONGING FOR ERROR FREE PERFECT SYSTEMS. ARTISTS HAVE CREATED SO MANY OF THEM. OPTIMISTS DO NOT MAKE UTOPIAS. THEY ARE AN EXPRESSION OF DESPAIR AND FUNK. WE HAVE NEVER BEEN ATTRACTED TO ANYTHING THAT DID NOT THROW CAUTION TO THE WIND.

“UPRISING-YES!” AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE. WE GAVE UP WAITING FOR THE REVOLUTION. WE GAVE UP WANTING IT.

WE ARE SEARCHING FOR ADVENTURE. WE ARE NOMADS. WE CHART OUR PATH BY STRANGE STARTS. LUMINOUS CLUSTERS OF INFORMATION. HALLUCINATIONS. WE READ LYOTARD’S “DRIFTWORKS”. ONE PLACE IS AS GOOD AS ANOTHER. WE ARE DRIVEN BY DESIRE AND CURIOSITY. WE ARE WANDERERS WITH SHALLOW LOYALTIES. WE ARE THE ARTIST. INTELLECTUAL, DANDY, MIGRANT LABOURER, REFUGEE, TOURIST, EVERYBODY. WE LIVE THROUGH OUR CARS, OUR VACATIONS, OUR TVS, BOOKS, FILMS, TELEPHONES, CHANGING JOS, CHANGING LIFESTYLES, RELIGIONS AND DIETS.

TAZ

Temporary Autonomous Zone

THE MUNICH SOVIET OR COUNCIL REPUBLIC OF 1919 SHOWED US THAT POETS AND POETRY SHOULD FORM THE BASIS OF REVOLUTION. THEY LAUNCHED PLANS TO DEVOTE LARGE AREAS OF BAVARIA TO AN EXPERIMENT IN ALTERNATIVE COMMUNITIES. THEY DREW UP PROPOSALS FOR A FREE SCHOOL SYSTEM AND A PEOPLE’S THEATRE. THEIR IDEAS DREW SUPPORT FROM THE WANDERVOGEL; THE NEO-ROMANTIC YOUTH MOVEMENT; THE EXPRESSIONISTS, THE WORKING CLASS AND THE BOHEMIAN AREAS OF MUNICH. DISMISSED AS THE “COFFEE-HOUSE REPUBLIC” THIS WAS A FLEETING ATTEMPT. THIS COULD HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT. WE IMAGINE BREATHING THE AIR OF THIS IMAGINARY CITY.

THIS IS NO MORE THAN AN ESSAY. AN ATTEMPT. A SUGGESTION. POETIC FANCY. WE CIRCLE AROUND THE SUBJECT. FIRING OFF EXPLORATORY BEAMS. OUR IMAGE DISSOLVES ON THE HORIZON. WHERE THE BLUENESS OF THE SKY MEETS THE SEA. THERE IS NO BECOMING. NO REVOLUTION. NO STRUGGLE. NO PATH. ALREADY WE ARE THE MONARCHS OF OUR SKIN. OUR INVIOLABLE FREEDOM WAITS TO COMPLETED AS URGENT AS THE BLUENESS OF THE SKY.

TAZ

Temporary Autonomous Zone
“Sealand” (First Image) by ©Ryan Lackey CC BY