Pirate UtopiasHakim Bey's theory of the Temporary Autonomous Zone, or TAZ, (Autonomedia, 1985) neatly sums up the romantic, utopian vision of the web. In fact, he's probably responsible for it to some degree. The core idea has to do with non-hierarchical and non-static networks and communities, which of course is another way of describing the Internet.
Consider a couple of examples: this argument by the NRA). Cryptography, Crypto-Anarchy, Cypherpunks, anonymous remailers, proxy servers, etc. are all manifestations around the same idea. the TAZ meshes with much of what you could call the 'hacker ethos', presented in straightforward terms by the EFF or GNU foundation, or in more dramatic terms by 2600, Phrack, Astalavista, CCC, etc.
Read:Hakim Bey's writings are online at hermetic.com. Temporary Autonomous Zones is broken up into three parts. Read the third section, The Temporary Autonomous Zone. Skim the first section, Broadsheets of Ontological Anarchism, read the paragraphs on Chaos, Poetic Terrorism, Amour Fou, Art Sabotage.
- is the TAZ an accurate way to think about the net? why or why not?
- are anonymity and impermanence at all compatible with the art world? or, with art-making and art-viewing?
- utopias are, almost by definition, impossible - are these ideas really workable in the real world?
- hakim bey's writing is both political and mystical, consider both spheres to be part of a project of reaching a higher stage of consciousness. In that context, does file-sharing commercial pop songs still count as a TAZ?
- an argument against pirate utopias: in the popular imagination, it is situated as a post-apocalyptic conflict of good and evil. But always focusing on what happens after the apocalypse lets one avoid the present, functions as a kind of escapism masquerading as revolution, and is functionally identical to, for instance, Christian Millenarianism. discuss.
- if this whole premise is modeled after nautical piracy, theft, murder, and other crime, then what are the analogous contemporary downsides, if any? how should they be balanced?