On the western edge of France, 4000 acres of wetlands, fields and forests have become a liberated zone; a vast laboratory of autonomy where 200 people in 60 different collectives live together without the state, occupying the land against a new airport project for the city of Nantes.
Politicians call it “a territory lost to the republic”. The local farmers and villagers, activists and naturalists, squatters and trade unionists, who are part of the growing movement against the airport and its world, call it the zad – The zone to defend.
With its bakeries, pirate radio station, tractor repair workshop, brewery, banqueting hall, medicinal herb gardens, a rap studio, dairy, vegetable plots, weekly newspaper, flour mill, library and even a surrealist lighthouse, the zad has become a concrete experiment in taking back control of everyday life. In 2012 the French state’s attempt to evict the zone was fiercely resisted and the police have not set foot there since. Every time the threats of eviction resurface, over 40,000 people take part in creative acts of disobedience to defend the zone.
— Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination