Networked_Performance

Hans Ulrich Obrist in Conversation with Hakim Bey

Hans Ulrich Obrist In Conversation with Hakim Bey, e-flux Journal #21:

[…] “HUO: I also wanted to ask you about the origins of T.A.Z.: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, which is a book that changed the way I approached exhibitions … Most of my exhibitions in the ‘90s, and … Utopia Station in the 2000s, relinquished the curatorial master plan in favor of being temporary autonomous zones in which we would basically invite collectives and artists to curate shows within the show. So for me it was a toolbox for curating, and I always wondered how you came to write that book, how its genesis came about?

HB: Well, the real genesis was my connection to the communal movement in America, my experiences in the 1960s in places like Timothy Leary’s commune in Millbrook. And of course the main criticism of this activity is that it didn’t last. But these things tend to be very ephemeral — if a secular commune lasts in America for ten years, it’s a miracle. Usually only the religious ones last longer than a generation — and usually at the expense of becoming quite authoritarian, and probably dismal and boring as well. I’ve noticed that the exciting ones tend to disappear, and as I began to further study this phenomenon, I found that they tend to disappear in a year or a year and a half. In the ‘60s we had a lot of communes that lasted for a year and half, two, three years. I think the only one that survived was The Farm, and that’s due to a number of things that made it very different, such as the fact that it had what I would say was a rather authoritarian leader, Steve Gaskin. What a brilliant guy. I think the place held together because he was willing to be its leader. A lot of the other communes fell apart because they were so anarchistic that they had no leaders, and so nobody washed the dishes. The movement was still going on in the 1980s. I had friends who were deeply involved in intentional communities, and I myself got involved. And everybody in the ‘80s was giving a good deal of thought to the whole idea of what intentional community could mean and how it could improve your life to be in one, or if it even could at all. That was the question. I think it unquestionably does. People have great fun for at least a year or a year and a half, and then when the problems start, that’s usually when it breaks up. After thinking about that for a while, it occurred to me that, well, it’s not such a great tragedy that these things don’t last. You shouldn’t condemn the experience of the people at Brook Farm, for example, just because it only lasted a few years. Those people had an incredibly deep experience that changed their lives. They had fun while they were there. They had a more intense existence, with everything geared up to a higher charge. All you have to do is read a little Emerson and a little Thoreau, see what the people who visited Brook Farm had to say about it. It was buzzing with energy and good vibrations.” Read the entire interview here.


Dec 19, 17:44
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