Temporary autonomous zone

I was at a very unconventional party recently (which happens every year), and I was talking to someone who's been going there for a while. She's now become part of the creation, providing visual effects to the increasingly elaborate production. We briefly talked above the dominating eclectic mix of DJ-d music, and I said that it's a place where people can relax and be goofy and have fun. She called it a "temporary autonomous zone."

I looked online to see if anyone else has used such an expression, and found it most prominently featured as a book. But I'm pretty sure she wasn't aware of that. What she meant was that the party and other such events are spaces where people can be themselves and express themselves as they want.

It's pretty plain that as we get older and have more responsibilities, or even want to stay well-employed, we don't encounter any autonomous zones outside of our own living spaces. Also, people's definitions of such a space differ. For instance, my idea of being free is just totally being myself, no matter where I am. Other people want a certain public place to participate in such freedom with others (such as Burning Man, where the concept has been expressed via Zone Trips that were created by the Cacophony Society). Maybe that's how she came up with the phrase, since she's been to Burning Man and its satellite events.

I suspect that the TAZ concept will become more mainstream because I've noticed that mainstream culture tends to take on concepts and phrases that originate on the periphery of society and in alternative subcultures. There are so many examples of such linguistic evolution that I'm sure someone wrote a book on it.

I did a quick search and already found a major media outlet use the term recently (though it's so overloaded it crashed my computer while I was writing this).

After rebooting my computer and trying to tame the source, I've decided to quote the section here because the LA Weekly site is still loading all its plug-ins and whatnot, and if I try to scroll through the article it slows down the whole loading experience (and eventually freezes), which you might encounter as well; in other words, I want you to avoid the annoying reading experience that I'm still having while writing this post. "What began as a combination art installation and chill-out area has grown into a sort of festival within the festival — a temporary autonomous zone..."

Wow, what a frustrating way to confirm the use of the phrase. Thus sidenote: websites should quit overloading their content with lots of auxiliary/spy-type junk!

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