and Wild Children
by Hakim Bey
Weird dancing in all-night computer-banking lobbies. Unauthorized pyrotechnic displays. Land-art, earth-works as bizarre alien artifacts strewn in State Parks. Burglarize houses but instead of stealing, leave Poetic-Terrorist objects. Kidnap someone & make them happy. Pick someone at random & convince them they're the heir to an enormous, useless & amazing fortune--say 5000 square miles of Antarctica, or an aging circus elephant, or an orphanage in Bombay, or a collection of alchemical mss. Later they will come to realize that for a few moments they believed in something extraordinary, & will perhaps be driven as a result to seek out some more intense mode of existence.
Bolt up brass commemorative plaques in places (public or private) where you have experienced a revelation or had a particularly fulfilling sexual experience, etc.
Go naked for a sign.
Organize a strike in your school or workplace on the grounds that it does not satisfy your need for indolence & spiritual beauty.
Graffiti-art loaned some grace to ugly subways & rigid public monuments--PT-art can also be created for public places: poems scrawled in courthouse lavatories, small fetishes abandoned in parks & restaurants, xerox-art under windshield-wipers of parked cars, Big Character Slogans pasted on playground walls, anonymous letters mailed to random or chosen recipients (mail fraud), pirate radio transmissions, wet cement...
The audience reaction or aesthetic-shock produced by PT ought to be at least as strong as the emotion of terror-- powerful disgust, sexual arousal, superstitious awe, sudden intuitive breakthrough, dada-esque angst--no matter whether the PT is aimed at one person or many, no matter whether it is "signed" or anonymous, if it does not change someone's life (aside from the artist) it fails.
PT is an act in a Theater of Cruelty which has no stage, no rows of seats, no tickets & no walls. In order to work at all, PT must categorically be divorced from all conventional structures for art consumption (galleries, publications, media). Even the guerilla Situationist tactics of street theater are perhaps too well known & expected now.
An exquisite seduction carried out not only in the cause of mutual satisfaction but also as a conscious act in a deliberately beautiful life--may be the ultimate PT. The PTerrorist behaves like a confidence-trickster whose aim is not money but CHANGE.
Don't do PT for other artists, do it for people who will not realize (at least for a few moments) that what you have done is art. Avoid recognizable art-categories, avoid politics, don't stick around to argue, don't be sentimental; be ruthless, take risks, vandalize only what must be defaced, do something children will remember all their lives--but don't be spontaneous unless the PT Muse has possessed you.
Dress up. Leave a false name. Be legendary. The best PT is against the law, but don't get caught. Art as crime; crime as art.
THE FULL MOON'S UNFATHOMABLE light-path--mid-May midnight in some State that starts with "I," so two-dimensional it can scarcely be said to possess any geography at all--the beams so urgent & tangible you must draw the shades in order to think in words.
No question of writing to Wild Children. They think in images--prose is for them a code not yet fully digested & ossified, just as for us never fully trusted.
You may write about them, so that others who have lost the silver chain may follow. Or write for them, making of STORY & EMBLEM a process of seduction into your own paleolithic memories, a barbaric enticement to liberty (chaos as CHAOS understands it).
For this otherworld species or "third sex," les enfants sauvages, fancy & Imagination are still undifferentiated. Unbridled PLAY: at one & the same time the source of our Art & of all the race's rarest eros.
To embrace disorder both as wellspring of style & voluptuous storehouse, a fundamental of our alien & occult civilization, our conspiratorial esthetic, our lunatic espionage--this is the action (let's face it) either of an artist of some sort, or of a ten- or thirteen-year-old.
Children whose clarified senses betray them into a brilliant sorcery of beautiful pleasure reflect something feral & smutty in the nature of reality itself: natural ontological anarchists, angels of chaos--their gestures & body odors broadcast around them a jungle of presence, a forest of prescience complete with snakes, ninja weapons, turtles, futuristic shamanism, incredible mess, piss, ghosts, sunlight, jerking off, birds' nests & eggs--gleeful aggression against the groan-ups of those Lower Planes so powerless to englobe either destructive epiphanies or creation in the form of antics fragile but sharp enough to slice moonlight.
And yet the denizens of these inferior jerkwater dimensions truly believe they control the destinies of Wild Children--& down here, such vicious beliefs actually sculpt most of the substance of happenstance.
The only ones who actually wish to share the mischievous destiny of those savage runaways or minor guerillas rather than dictate it, the only ones who can understand that cherishing & unleashing are the same act--these are mostly artists, anarchists, perverts, heretics, a band apart (as much from each other as from the world) or able to meet only as wild children might, locking gazes across a dinnertable while adults gibber from behind their masks.
Too young for Harley choppers--flunk-outs, break-dancers, scarcely pubescent poets of flat lost railroad towns--a million sparks falling from the skyrockets of Rimbaud & Mowgli--slender terrorists whose gaudy bombs are compacted of polymorphous love & the precious shards of popular culture--punk gunslingers dreaming of piercing their ears, animist bicyclists gliding in the pewter dusk through Welfare streets of accidental flowers--out-of-season gypsy skinny-dippers, smiling sideways-glancing thieves of power- totems, small change & panther-bladed knives--we sense them everywhere--we publish this offer to trade the corruption of our own lux et gaudium for their perfect gentle filth.
So get this: our realization, our liberation depends on theirs--not because we ape the Family, those "misers of love" who hold hostages for a banal future, nor the State which schools us all to sink beneath the event-horizon of a tedious "usefulness"--no--but because we & they, the wild ones, are images of each other, linked & bordered by that silver chain which defines the pale of sensuality, transgression & vision.
We share the same enemies & our means of triumphant escape are also the same: a delirious & obsessive play, powered by the spectral brilliance of the wolves & their children.