I dig the idea of creating new spaces – physical and “psychogeographical” – in an effort to resist or unite, or be spectacular
I think the beauty of good literature, as it transforms our perceptions and even beliefs at times – is in its pursuit. We can create as much space for the piece as we desire in our minds. We can let it influence our imagination, our take on writing, our take on reality, or we can observe at some distance. Now hold on… That’s some psycho-geographical shit!
Hakim Bey and his Pirate Utopia frame of reference got me wondering, at a perfect moment in a politically-charged semester – how do we create space and use/find space to affect change? Is it even possible for a revolution to be successful in the face of the status quo?
It all goes back to Lane Hall’s tantalizingly simple yet complex question: do the arts matter? There’s a quintessential nature in the arts that is synonymous with human nature. They are rooted, charged, legal (sometimes), expressive, astounding and awful, undying, fleeting, living, carnal and heavenly, simple or complex, or both.
I have one tattoo, of a small, black outline of a circle. “You gonna put something in there?” – Dad. A lot of people hate it.
When I went to work after I got it done, my 7th grade students all asked, “Miss, what does that mean?” and I had a million answers for them. I said, “Everything is cyclical,” or, “what goes around comes around,” or, “it’s living.” “Everything.” “What doesn’t it mean?”
And the kids went, “Aww, I get it,” and twelve-year-olds were drawing circles on their ankles. Then the sixth graders did it, for weeks.
When I think of the spaces we make to allow for change, or to allow the potential for a spectacle, I think of an interruption. There’s something different or new, maybe even the space itself, and there should really be a way for people to see it. Through video is fine, or even audio. Whether or not the action/space/piece is understood is only a little bit relevant. The true moment of elaborate resistance is in the noticeable difference. It’s sort of mathematical.
So what’s a good space? Hakim Bey asserts that the moment is more important, that it frees the “activist” into a “Temporary Autonomous Zone” (TAZ). He writes, “The TAZ is like an uprising which does not engage directly with the State, a guerilla operation which liberates an area (of land, of time, of imagination) and then dissolves itself to re-form elsewhere/elsewhen, before the State can crush it.”
Specifically, then, I’d like to connect art and space/time. Place yourself in a street in the city and preach poetic from a milk crate. Make a piece of art and fly it behind your bicycle. Walk down Kinnickinnic and ask who wants to sing a song, right there and then.
“Clare, that’s hippie shit.” Maybe. But it beats getting arrested, and it gets your voice/work/hope/whimsy out into the community. Ain’t that America? *Sorry, John Cougar Mellencamp*