The NoGoZone

I’m thinking of certain old European genre paintings which always fascinated me as a child, depicting peasants or gypsies living in the ruins of some vanished empire — usually Roman. The images appealed to a Bachelardian sense of reverie and magic about certain kinds of “home”, certain kinds of “space”. I like the sense of abandonment implied in the paradox of abandoned ruins brought to life by “abandoned” bohemians, low-lifes, Breughelian fiddlers and dancers — the contrast of the heavy remains of vanished triumphalism with the lightness and brightness of nomads. I may very well be romanticizing the NGZ as a possible utopian topos or site — but then again, I might be inclined to defend the occasional usefulness of romanticism: — it beats despair. The NGZ is on the way, whether we dread it or romanticize it. (Hakim Bey,

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