Space and Nomadology
by Paige Lunde, cohort ’13
Sylvere Lotringer in Art Factory, Istanbul, photo by Paige Lunde
Exploring the topography from Paris to Istanbul requires more than a map; it requires an investigation into structures that shape thought and space. Walking through majestic palaces and mosques in contrast to packed subways and trams, I understand the control of space in a new way. Spatial control is uniquely linked to dominant ideology, a struggle evident between systems and nomadic thought. Yet, how does nomadic thought relate to these controlling thresholds of space? It appears through individual resistance to dominant machines of Ideology and Capitalism. In other words, nomadic thought threatens the machine because it disturbs purity by receiving and transmitting ideas of difference.
Space reveals and conceals desire. It does this through its presentation of purity. Paris presents the height of desire through ornate eternal forms. These forms lay claim to presence and reveal the prevailing Ideology of thought established in the Enlightenment. Even within the Grand Palace, the strange City of Kabakov exhibits a purified ideal of space. In fact, theCity of Kabakov is a utopian city within an Ideal palace. The ‘city of lights’ then becomes a concretization of ideology over space, a beauty machine. Where does nomadic thought fit into this systematic takeover of space? Nomadic thought breaks purity by disseminating the idea of multiple voices, fracturing the unity of smooth space. The space of purity demands either/or propositions, but hybridized space values opposition by accepting both.
Sylvere Lotringer values the disruptive quality of nomadic thought. He reveals T.E. Lawrence’s approach to impacting change within a system, by waging war with a non-battle. That is, by understanding the Other we don’t need force. Thought itself is the greatest tool.
Passing from Paris to Istanbul, boundaries form. There are no walls, but there is a separation in thought. The private space of the female becomes profane, under constant barrage of intrusion and exclusion. Sylvere claims the nomad exists in opposition, using external space as a tool to transmit the idea. This is a struggle because social spaces welcome the dominant by privileging their status and mobility. Nevertheless, our goal, as philosophers, is to continue the plurality of ideas in resistance to structures that stop them.