'T.A.Z' (temporary autonomous zone)
Petach Tikva Museum
As part of Citizens/ Curator: Neta Gal-Azmon
6.4.2017 - 5.8.2017
Medium: steel, metal panels, cctv, print, magnet, glass, wood
Dimensions: 36x40x94inch / 92x102x238cm
T.A.Z.: The Temporary Autonomous Zone is the title of an anarchist philosophical treatise by Hakim Bey (pseudonym) published in 1991, calling to set up temporary freedom zones to assist in the constant avoidance of government overreach. According to Bey, the liberation afforded by the anarchist revolution is short-lived and ephemeral in nature. To avoid falling into the trap of resistance and co-option ("If you can't beat them, swallow them up"), he proposes an alternative tactic of disappearance — acting outside the state's conceptual range in the form of "low" networked organizations within existing society. Highly democratic, egalitarian, liberal societies devoid of central governments, he maintains, have transpired in the past in areas outside the reach of state apparatuses. T.A.Z aims to create such transient mini-zones of freedom and autonomy, allowing for temporary escape from the state's built-in coercion.
Ironically, of all things in Bey's book, Zac Hacmon's work with and in spaces adopts the "guard post" — an ugly makeshift structure that conveys anonymity, alienation, and control, but for the "guard" occupying it, it is an intimate, autonomous space. The work is based on the artist's experiences from the time he worked as a security guard, and the guard's booth offered him a microcosm of quiet in utter contrast to the definition of the job. Invited to step into the guard's shoes, the viewer notices that a central element in this provisional structure is a CCTV that screens the goings-on in the museum space through the lenses of four security cameras. The booth, which offers the guard occupying it a refuge from the world, simultaneously defines him as an authoritative figure in relation to those outside it. Paradoxically, the T.A.Z becomes an aggressive means of territory demarcation and spatial control.