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Hakim Bey


Controversial author and provocateur, piratologue, and renowned authority of heretical Islam, poet and philosopher, Hakim Bey is an influential philosophical and virtual presence on the very Internet he does not participate in. Like the pirates who inspire him, Hakim Bey has chosen a clandestine existence — spotted everywhere but nowhere seen. Suspicious of the Spectacle’s manifestations, Bey has created his own enclave, where he continues his covert adventures. T.A.Z.: Temporary Autonomous Zone is his poetic extrapolation of Debord’s work.



Final enclosure

You know i feel betrayed by media, completely. All my life i’ve been a worker in media,
so it’s a kind of crisis for me personally… and as i’ve tried to investigate it, it just keeps receding back into the past of technology, until finally one gets to what it seems to me to be recognisable as a crisis of similar proportions and that’s writing itself, which constituted a crisis for the entire world of knowledge, and changed that world in drastic ways. In a sense, the answer to your question would certainly have to be a system to rival writing itself. You’d have to have a communication system that wasn’t writing, that wasn’t text based.
And I haven’t the foggiest idea what that would be except -- again -- for telepathy.

I think that it all boils down to the question of whether or not it’s possible to achieve liberation from the image through the image, or liberation from text through text. That question hasn’t changed. Again, it’s only gotten exacerbated and perhaps reached terminal conditions in certain areas, but it hasn’t changed, since the question of text and image itself.

If the [extended media] objects that Vladimir is talking about come into existence, then they will just simply become a part of that global image. In other words, what i said before, if it works it will be pre-empted, if it doesn’t work it’ll be ignored and it will never circulate. And that really seems to be the choice facing creative workers...

We’re reduced to the status of content providers. There’s no way out of this. I don’t see this as a way out. This is not the exit. It’s just more of the same. If we had such an object before us, you know, to discuss and analyse, it might help us in this puzzle. But frankly, I don’t understand the difference between what your describing [virtual products, video games, networks, or internet viruses] and what has existed in some form or another for some 6000 years. Because an object like that, the definition you just gave seems to fit a major religion quite neatly – a social ideological construct…

But what if this [object] was a factor of the dissolution of the social, which i think is a concept that has to be faced, that with the triumph of global capital that it’s society itself that’s been abolished. So, naturally everything recedes into the perceptual. Because you’re boxed in! There’s nowhere to go! This is the final enclosure!

You know science fiction novels about societies of the future which are completely contentless in some way, in which the social has really, really been abolished. All the science fictional images of transcendence are all bullshit as far as we can see. You know, the aliens have been a big disappointment, time travel doesn’t seem to work, there’s nobody leaving on other planets, it’s not even anything useful to steal there. I mean it’s just a big … you know … it’s the end!