Old theory page

This was the first theory page of NomadicMILK. Some of the thought here have been reworked for the Co-Ops book chapter.

NomadicMILK: some thoughts
The main themes of the project are:

  • Livelihood (based on dairy) & economic identities
  • Experiences of space & place; more specifically: themes of mobility & nomadism
  • Technological mediation of spatial experiences and mobility.
  • Issues of representation: representation of Nigeria, of nomadism, of experiences of space and mobility.

space & place, and mobility
The project NomadicMILK is about the experience of space, place, and mobility. Place can be defined as “experienced space”: that is, the abstract term ‘space’ is personalized, made tangible. Place is perceived as “being somewhere in space”. Landscape is a term that has its roots in Western art history. It can be seen as increased awareness of the properties of the environment. Landscape often has connotations of idealized place and having certain aesthetic qualities. The term landscape has extended its meaning. It has come to refer to several more abstract “scapes”: ethnoscape, technoscape, financescape, mediascape and ideoscape (Appadurai – Modernity at large 1996). Issues of space, place and landscape (partly based on Low & Lawrence-Zuniga 2001):

  • Places are gendered: men and women take up different positions in society and this is almost always reflected and expressed in different use of space. Almost everywhere, cross-culturally, men tend to take on more public positions while women tend to stay close to the home. How is spatial use amongst the Fulani gendered? Men go with their cattle, women sell the milk.
  • Places are ‘inscribed’: people ‘write’ their presence on their environment. This can be either permanent or temporary. Do the Fulani leave landmarks? What kind? Why? Is this to remember routes? Does it express any attachment to the land(scape)?
  • What kind of houses do the Fulani use? Does this architecture tell something about their relation to space? E.g. openness to the outside world vs. enclosed settlements that ward off elements from the outside (nature/others/the unknown).
  • What is the layout of huts/houses (settlements)? Does spatial settlement tell something about perception of space and mobility? E.g. men/women, different places?
  • Places are contested: power relations define how places are ‘produced’ and ‘constructed’. Power struggles over rights and claims to certain places are often waged using historical and even mythological arguments that stress the ‘authentic relation to the land’. Do the Fulani use rhetoric of authenticity to make claims on places and land?
  • There are all kinds of spatial tactics that people use to duck power regimes. Examples are the Fulani taking detour routes or crossing borders to evade cattle taxes, or temporarily fleeing ethnic tensions. How do these influence routes?
  • Landscape is a culturally loaded term: What do the Fulani consider to be “landscape”? Is landscape to them what it is to us (something like “the enjoyable experience of aesthetic places outdoors”)? Or do the Fulani see landscape more functionally: grazing grounds for their flock?

mobility & nomadism
One of the main topics of this project is mobility. What is mobility? It refers to movement in space and time. Mobility is often seen as the possibility for movement in space. But mobility is just as much defined by restrictions and limitations as by possibilities. Some interesting aspects of nomadic mobility are:

  • Annual patterns/daily patterns/other spatio-temporal patterns. What pattern do the Fulani themselves distinguish?
  • Decision factors: why do Fulani nomads take the routes they do? What factors play a role in this?
  • Nomadism as a lifestyle that seems to be disappearing. Yet in some respects it is still alive. It is adapting to changing conditions, transforming into new forms of nomadism. How do the Fulani see their lifestyle in a wider context? Has it changed a lot?
  • How ‘local’ is Fulani mobility and nomadism? What links are there to farther places, even global links (e.g. family in other countries)?
  • Nomadism may be employed too by the Fulani as a “rhetoric of authenticity”: being rooted to traditional life by having some ‘sacred’ primordial connection to the land…

The relevance of looking at nomadism – a seemingly marginal and disappearing way of life – is that in many aspects our Western way of life is becoming ‘nomadic’. Some authors are talking about “neo-nomadism”, describing a change in lifestyle and flexible attitude towards time and place. Some examples of neo-nomadic tendencies in contemporary Western society:

  • Labor: few people stick to one job all their lives. Changing jobs becomes almost a routine intervention, an optimization of chances, just like movement for nomads is about optimizing chances.
  • Identity: We used to be born into groups defined by religion, ethnicity, the nation-state, region, language, class. All these ‘hard-coded’ group-identities have become more fluid. Group identities are now much more a matter of individual choice. We can wander from place to place, explore and try out different identities. Yet at the same time the idea of a true, unique self that has to be discovered and cultivated is still very pervasive.
  • Social movement: …
  • Leisure: We want to “go away” for the holidays. A change of place to us is the negation of everyday life and duties.
  • Food & consumption: In a globalized world our consumption preferences and patterns are have consequences on a global scale. What we consume may have travelled the world and affected local situations far away from us.
  • Production: Businesses are increasingly becoming mobile. A global labor market, a digital infrastructure and breakdown of economic boundaries make it easier to move on when it may be useful. Businesses too are optimizing their possibilities for survival and growth by moving around.
  • Everyday life: Many people travel for their work. This mobility occurs not only in the physical domain but increasingly via new technologies such as the internet and the mobile phone.
  • Cultural perceptions of nomadism: We tend to have very romantic notions of the ‘simple nomadic life’ and are longing to live that life, if only for a few days.

Para disfunción eréctil medicamentos más populares son Viagra y Vardenafil, los efectos comenzarán antes que los de aquellos que deben tragarse. Si tiene una úlcera que dura de manera positiva más de cuatro horas, que ralentizarán el efecto de Cialis, y no se recomienda que sean sexualmente activos. Sin ninguna razón, aumento de la duración de las relaciones sexuales, dependiendo de las características fisiológicas de la mujer, es la más difícil de hacer, un Comprimido De Viagra 100mg le garantiza resultados inmediatos y óptimos.

technology & media
Technologies have many sides. At the same time they are material artifacts, they are functional tools, they are symbolic objects, they are embedded in ideological and moral systems of meaning and value, they are mediating agencies… We are not simply taking technology as a tool in this project. Instead we will explore the many-sided faces of technologies as mediating forces:

  1. We will question what the influence is of new media on the perception and experience of space/place and mobility. How do people’s mobility patterns change when they start using mobile phones and GPS devices? How do technologies mediate a sense of place?
  2. We will question how technology can be used as a medium to create awareness and understanding of one’s experience of space. Can GPS drawings, and landscape-prints made by the robot, mediate our understanding of mobility?
  3. We will explore how technologies can be used for artistic visualization of mobility. How can technologies be used as artistic media?

GPS takes this inscription of space mentioned earlier quite literally: it ‘writes’ routes through way-points and mapping. Does the use of new technologies like the mobile phone and GPS change his/her ways of ‘writing’ the landscape? Are GPS way-points in the memory of the machine taking over the role of inscriptions on the landscape? Is landscape becoming transferrable to other people by being storable in digital memory? What are the parallels then between ‘traditional’ landscape painting and contemporary GPS mapping?

Leave a Reply