Saturday, May 21, 2016

Re: [Yasmin_discussions] Mercado Central Exchange

Dear John,

When I went to the site for which you provided a link, I was completely puzzled. Where I have some understanding of the material, the claims and statements do not seem right. Where I don't, I could not tell what it is that the author is saying. The notion of the "Temporary Autonomous Zone" is correct only insofar as this zone does not align with anything in the real world.

If art and science meet, they must meet in the real world. If they do not meet through some form of consilience, they may involve art and imagination, but they cannot involve science.

This is not a question that arises from the problem of knowing in advance the result of research. Research often involves asking questions for which we do not have an answer. Nevertheless, there is a great deal that we already know — if someone is attempting to create a perpetual motion machine, we know it won't work unless everything we currently know about physics and entropy is wrong. If someone asks for funding a project to invent a perpetual motion machine, they've got to first demonstrate some reason to believe that it can be done.

The same problem holds with respect to turning lead into gold, or finding the fountain of youth. I put forward these nonsensical propositions as a response to the TAZ page I stumbled into that makes claims about the era of exploration to the new world during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I. There is a problem with much of the material on the TAZ site, and not a single serious source to support the claims.

In my view, the art/science agenda requires a different approach. It is not a matter of fearing unknown consequences. We can imagine anything we wish to imagine. But there is a considerable gap between imagining certain things and making them so.

As an antidote to TAZ, I recommend an article by Jeremy Bernstein, 1993. "How Can We Be Sure That Albert Einstein Was Not A Crank?" Cranks, Quarks and the Cosmos. New York: Basic Books. pp. 15-27.

Those who wish to read the article will find it in the "Teaching Documents" section of my Academia page at:

This raises — and answers — the question of why Einstein's imaginative and revolutionary ideas on relativity weren't crazy. And why asking some of the same questions about TAZ has quite a different answer. I'll leave the article on the Academia page until June 5.

It has always interested me to note that Einstein's paper on Brownian motion demonstrated the reality of atoms using facts that physicists and chemists had known for many years. What Einstein did was to bring these well known facts together with a new perspective. One reason he was able to do this was the long-established and carefully tested nature of the facts. And that is why so many physicists and chemists who had not previously accepted the physical reality of atoms changed their minds.

I have a sense of the freedom you are seeking. TAZ won't help you find it.



Ken Friedman, PhD, DSc (hc), FDRS | Editor-in-Chief | 设计 She Ji. The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation | Published by Tongji University in Cooperation with Elsevier | URL:

Chair Professor of Design Innovation Studies | College of Design and Innovation | Tongji University | Shanghai, China ||| University Distinguished Professor | Centre for Design Innovation | Swinburne University of Technology | Melbourne, Australia

> On 2016May21, at 19:36, John Hopkins <> wrote:
>> Of course, each of us, in the sciences or in the arts, or even at the
>> intersection, we develop creative means to by-pass this problem of indicating
>> what the result will be before having done the first research or work.
> One 'technique' may be constructed around the concept/model of the TAZ (Temporary Autonomous Zone* of Hakim Bey) which parallels much of my exploratory/experimental teaching work over the years -- where there (always!) exist spaces in the social system, 'interstitial' spaces that are (relatively) unstrictured by dominant social protocols. These are (definitely) not necessarily physical, Cartesian spaces, but can exist within oppressive regimes, capitalist markets, academic insitituions, *and* in mind -- but all equally out of sight of The 'dominant' System.
> Being aware of this concept may facilitate easier identification and occupation of such spaces. These spaces cannot be bought although Annick's idea of undefined budget line items is a nice corollary concept. I have found that too close a corollation with money will destroy such spaces as money is 'owned' by the dominant system.
> There are risks in occupying such transitory spaces, however: institutions verily despise the fact that they cannot exert complete control over *every* space of their domain and they will use whatever resources they have to suppress the uncontrolled. (This is especially true of 'disciplinary' spaces and the problematic of being trans/cross/intra/post/ex-disciplinary.)
> However, no system can exert complete control -- for that it would need an infinite energy supply. So, a TAZ can -- in practice as an irruption of 'un-control' -- happen anywhere, anytime. The challenge is to identify, to occupy, to participate in these phenomena. They are not normative, and require an embrace of chaos to some degree (more-or-less depending on one's capacities). One of the reasons I left US academia three years ago -- despite the inevitable personal economic catastrophe that accompanied the departure -- was I felt that the students I was interacting with were paralyzed by a fear of the uncontrolled (art students, no less!!). I could not mitigate that fear. And one cannot occupy a TAZ when fearful of unknown consequences.
> The innovative challenge of finding, establishing, or facilitating such spaces is largely about pushing back the social strictures and making a fearless space of possibility. I do think it is becoming simultaneously more difficult (given wide-scale/wide-dimensioned surveillance and monitoring of life by purveyors of Big Data) and easier (given that the developed world simply no longer has access to the energy needed to exert 'complete' control over their populations) to find or create TAZs...
> Cheers,
> JH
> *
> --
> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> Dr. John Hopkins, BSc, MFA, PhD
> grounded on a granite batholith
> twitter: @neoscenes
> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> _______________________________________________

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