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Courtney Eldridge

Temporary Autonomous Zones

Note: I’d seen some of Ariel Schlesinger’s work on YouTube, and I’d always had “Fire Horn” in mind for Pussy Galore Octave, but then, yesterday, I came across some new material, a new site, VVANK, where I found this:

Train Hopping and Reverse Engineering

My first encounter with train hopping occurred at the age of 16, when I was hanging out with a few older punks–adventurous kids–and after some hesitation, joined them on a long train ride trip between Oakland, California and Tuscon, Arizona.

Train hopping is when you secretly catch a ride on a railroad freight car. It involves as much waiting for a train to catch as actual riding. There is an enormous change in experience between the monotony of waiting, the sudden excitement of the arrival of the train and the rhythm of the world while riding. My friends called it a Temporary Autonomous Zone, the new territory of the moment that exists on the boundary line of established regions–a temporary space that escapes conventionally structures of control.

We used to say: you piss out of a boxcar once, you’re hooked. The physical effect of the massive cold metal makes you understand that a rolling boxcar won’t even flinch as it quietly rolls right over you.

Looking at a freight train, or just hearing the sound of one coming, makes my heart beat faster. I just look at trains differently now.

Recently I thought about my train-hopping days again when I was jailbreaking my phone. Jailbreaking is another way of modifying a device or program, a way of giving the user full access to features that are otherwise made unavailable or disabled by the manufacturer.  Jailbreaking is perhaps even considered by many as preserving our basic rights to use. We used freight trains in much the same way.

The liberating experience of viewing or using anything in a manner other than what it was specifically intended for is what vvank.com is all about.

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