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In the sociology, the proponents of nomadology are preoccupied with the so called mobile culture and the amazing figures: that every year there are 600 million international travelers, that half a million hotel rooms are built every year, that there are 23 million refugees, that tourism covers ten percent of the global revenue. Human race enters a new ear of movement and moves, a wondering of people that this time covers not only euro-Asia, but the whole world. These days, with the development of micro technology, the “global nomads” will be able to collect their whole “household” in a suitcase and be “geographically independent”, they will be bale to travel as much as they want and where they want. The entities of history, once sedentary farmers or citizens, now become migrants, refugees, gastarbeiters, asylum seekers, city homeless. Edward Said in 1992 claimed that the torch of liberation has been handed from the sedentary cultures to the homeless, de-centered, exilic energies. Even the protestant and the catholic church, which practice the missionary have already developed nomadic churches, ways of approach to the nomadic communities where the church is not a holy and sacral space, but it is everywhere where the community follows the word of God.
Vassilis Lambropoulos thinks that the word “immigration”, with its economic: low classes that look for a new home in search of a better life, or political connotations: refugees, exile seekers, asylum seekers, expatriates, is no longer appropriate. Today, there are students, bureaucrats, journalists, artists migrating. The old term of the Diaspora is erased and a new migration is created: Creole, hybrid, instable and ex-centric. The polish artist Kshishtoff Vodichko thinks that the hordes of displaced not take the public space in the cities – squares, parks, or railway stations, places that were once designed by the victorious middle class to celebrate the conquest of the new political rights and economic freedoms.
But these issues are still reviewed via the modernist vision of alienation – where the thinkers are either fascinated by the country or lament over their homelessness, and in any case that think that capitalism and technology will leave the westerners without roots, tradition, continuity and faith. The Earth can no longer be population in this vision, it is usurped, taken away, occupied, bought for a bargain. As Asherson says, this nightmare: the terror of the people who move, inherited from the big moves of the Roman Empire and its fall and renovated by the Hun and Mongolian robberies to the west, has survived in the new Europe after the 1989 revolutions. It grows as a fear of the west of all people who travel, the millions who press at the gates of Europe as ‘asylum seekers” or “economic migrants” of the social collapse in Eastern Europe that would move half of the population to the West. The state is trying to establish control at its territory, the inflow of foreigners, establish a system of rights and obligations on the migrants who marginalize the centre and “endanger” the dominant culture. That is why the newspapers are full with different examples of state and social injustice, racial and any other kind of discrimination over the homeless, vagrants in the countries of the first, but also second and third world. Today, many traditionally nomadic people are oppressed because of the forceful and inappropriate government policies towards them (for example, the Fulans in Nigeria).
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The nomadism has become a preoccupation in the literary writing. In this occasion we will not talk of Kenneth White and geopolitics, which is quite present in the Macedonian artistic context. Bruce Chatwin differentiates between nomadic and urban art. The first is mobile, asymmetrical, dy-socratic, and restless, and the second is static, firm and symmetric. Unlike the old authors, like Washington and Jefferson, for whom the American west was innocent, empty, un-colonized space that in a phallus-like way waits for its civilization, the new thinkers of the big American land cherish a different sensibility. Jean Baudrillard describes America as a landscape covered with hyper real simulacrums, as a dump full with empty markers, an unchangeable ontological desert.
Speaking of the artist as a nomad, Stefano Pasquini asks himself how important the place of living is for the creation. He gives several examples of artists who play with the concept of sedentariness. Six artists start a project where that live some fictional character in different states. Their experience is documents on a video tape. Robin Brouwer is the curator of the project. He thinks that the current nomadism leans on the postmodern heritage, with the terms such as heterogeneity and multiplication. According to him, postmodernism has a dose of naiveté, because the nomadism in the current conditions asks for experimental vistalism and pragmatic ethics so that man can move between territories, identities and dominant meanings that cover every space if the society. Nomadism asks for a practical sensibility that can mutate and avoid these borders. Some authors treat mail-art as the highest expression of artistic nomadism. According to them, everybody can enter this art and use any old or new techniques to create his/her own artistic network in all disciplines. Kazuhiro Takabatake, an artist who deals with video and installations in London thinks that every society has strictly defined roles, but it is the artist who can constantly reinvestigate these roles and move nomadically from one field to another and from one space to another.
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The issues of the house and threshold are related to the categories of continuity and discontinuity. Bataille, for example, treats these concepts as part of his metaphysical construction. According to him, the continuity is achieved via the experience of the divine. The divine is achieved via the escape from the world of discontinuity. Separateness, from the world of continuity of the sameness. The discontinuity is what enables human existence, his individuality. The continuity can on the other hand, be reached again only by death.
With respect to the holy and the profane, Melissa Miles reviews the border space. She quotes Deleuze and Guattari again, as they mark the border space as a space of wizards. Unlike the nomad who can not split, the wizard lives on the edge of the field of the border crossing between the two worlds. Neal Asherson speaks that many of the Scythian nomads lived a double life: both as nomads and city subjects, and they used the change of clothes as a transition from one to another identity. The nomadic druids, on the other hand, use the ritual to use the selfness and go to the inter-space. The labyrinth on the other side is used as a place of the threshold, where, instead of the concept of inside and outside, there is a trail that is constantly developed and transformed and has neither beginning nor an end. The travels are a border space because they provide encounters of the two cultures, where the contact zone is established and the space between the borders.
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In the Macedonian context, the writing on the topic of house/threshold has a negative projection. The Macedonian population has been mainly “de-housed” in the last hundred years, they migrate, emigrate, move away, they are forcefully displaced, dispersed to be assimilated, and most of the time live in rented places. From the sedentary aspect, where the vertical of the national myth is mostly built from, the metaphors of roots, house, foundation, forefathers’ homes, the essay of the Macedonian house has a glazing of melancholy, lament, but also rage, and the Macedonian threshold is a border, door, and the other side from where there is no return.
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If you have any fears or hopes about the nomadic times, whose shapes we have formed in this small essay, you can find a recipe how to survive in it on the Internet. There is advice how to build your own yurt there. Yurt is a nomadic tent, a movable circular form that can be assembled and disassembled, used by some people from the central Asian steppes. A good yurt can last from fifty to sixty years. The yurt materials – canvas, stakes, skins, rugs, can still be found at some markets of various countries in the world.
Translated by: Elizabeta Bakovska