FIELDWORKING | The nomadic as method

Posted on 06/12/2012


I’ve been doing some more figuring for Fieldworking. I’m working towards an idea that the process is the work, so I have been investigating a few fieldwork tools. In the first instance, I need to be assured that the methodology will work for the kind of cultural geography that the project engages. At the moment, I am enjoying a confluence between several of my projects. I participated in a Long Time, No See? production meeting yesterday in which Petros (the programmer) and Robert (the designer) presented their work in progress. While the mapping was attentive to subtleties and shifts in the landscape, the visual design worked towards coding and highlighting various features and aspects by marking it, forming small or minor territories. The whole process involves reading, writing, marking and narrating the landscape, ostensibly the topography, in ways that reveals alternative pathways. Deluezian ideas about smooth and striated space were also acknowledged. Having considered both cultural geography and cultural research, I have started using EverNote with Skitch to trigger the working, writing, walking and thinking process in the field. Uncertainly, precariously, tentatively, I am now engaging in an idea of the nomadic as method:

The nomad has a territory; he follows customary paths; he goes from one point to another; he is not ignorant of points (water points, dwelling points, assembly points, etc.). But the question is what in nomad life is a principle and what is only a consequence. To begin with, although the points determine paths, they are strictly subordinated to the paths they determine, the reverse happens with the sedentary. The water point is reached only in order to be left behind; every point is a relay and exists only as a relay. A path is always between two points, but the in-between has taken on all the consistency and enjoys both an autonomy and a direction of its own. The life of the nomad is the intermezzo. (Deleuze, 380)