Are we nomads?

For a long time now it has been commonly accepted that the nation-state is in crisis. The barriers remain, as does the movement, which has always existed. Today, movement (physical, cultural and cognitive) is more real than ever and the barriers are symbols. Both physical transfers and transmissions of messages have become easier and faster. People are nomadic, as they follow the product along its production chain; trades are nomadic, as they are becoming more and more versatile and undefined; knowledge itself has become nomadic, since the transmission of know-how along the production chain blends knowledge and culture together, generating unexpected outcomes.

Over the last few days I’ve been trying to write something down about nomadism, starting from knowledge that I have picked up here and there and that on this occasion came back to mind. I tried to put all these thoughts together into a coherent and concise discourse, but I couldn’t manage…I realized that there are so many things to say that I instead invite you to go and read for yourself all the brief posts, articles and projects that we will share and that now I will only hint at.

During the composition of this research project and the open call for the residency, we have been asking ourselves: 1. whether we are nomads and 2. what it means exactly to be a nomad in the present age. I myself feel like a contemporary nomad, a cognitive globe-trotter, especially in situations when I have to navigate through a sea of different concepts, such as this one, with no apparent landing place on the horizon. And so for now I can only respond with further questions: by nature, is the human being nomadic or sedentary? Has there ever been a time in history when human beings (whether spontaneous communities, states of people, or groups of individuals) were really settled down?

This week’s original contribution (which will be published in the very next days) is a dialogue between two friends – one a graphic designer and the other a philosopher – who exchange their opinions about the issue of contemporary nomadism. Their conversation is a mail chat, which has been edited and reduced to the essentials, and should be read backwards starting with the last entry.

In the meantime, I am still on the move searching for at least one answer, looking at the natural human tendency to settle down, even in the most inhospitable of places. I will look also to my ancient mediterranean origins and at the attempts to overcome barriers (or to simply conceal them). In the last two weeks, by chance, I’ve become acquainted with three different concepts of movement: an article and photographic reportage in a architecture magazine, a brief historical and anthropological essay that I remembered and found again in my library, a famous and visionary project from the beginning of the XX Century. This week I’ll share all of them on the Pespow Creative Residency facebook page along with my opinions. Stay tuned!