≡ ‘Futuristic Archeology’ or how the nomadic unit confronts the despotic machine ≡

586ca0010415ef35b3b79cd2156158a0-large© Daesung Lee, from the series Futuristic Archeology, 2013-14.

761383da4690aae8b1611afd21799190-large© Daesung Lee, from the series Futuristic Archeology, 2013-14.

Desertification in Mongolia- Nomadic life has been central to traditional Mongolian culture throughout history. Even with changes brought about by urbanisation in recent years, 35% of Mongolians are living a nomadic life and thus still depend on their vast, open land for survival. This is increasingly difficult because their traditional way of life is now being threatened due to serious changes in the land.

According to a survey made by the Mongolian government, around 850 lakes and 2000 rivers and streams have dried out. This loss of water is contributing to the desertification of Mongolia, as 25% of its land has turned into desert in the past 30 years. Potentially 75 % of Mongolian territory is at risk of desertification. These environmental changes directly threaten the Mongolian nomadic way of life, which has been passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years.

This project attempts at recreating the museum diorama with actual people and their livestock in a real place where desertifying in Mongolia. It is based on an imagination that these people try to go into museum diorama for survival. This is accomplished with printed images on a billboard placed in conjunction with the actual landscape horizon. By doing this, I hope to accomplish a sense that the lives of these nomadic people occur between this reality and a virtual space of a museum. Mongolian traditional nomadic life might be only existed in museum in the future.Lee’s statement.

92fbb94b3e1af5e2bab806ddbfa55ba4-large© Daesung Lee, from the series Futuristic Archeology, 2013-14.

4d241af39bd22b125267fa21bfb7702d-large© Daesung Lee, from the series Futuristic Archeology, 2013-14.

Nomadic Thought, excerpt from an essay by Deleuze published in a 1977, pp. 148 – 149. Source: Anarchist Without Content.

One final point remains to be made. Let us go back to that grand passage in The Genealogy of Morals about the founders of empires. There we encounter men of Asiatic production, so to speak. On a base of primitive rural communities, these despots construct their imperial machines that codify everything to excess. With an administrative bureaucracy that organizes huge projects, they feed off an overabundance of labor (“Wherever they appear something new soon arises, a ruling structure that fives, in which parts and functions are delimited and coordinated, in which nothing whatever finds a place that has not first been assigned and coordinated, in which nothing whatever finds a place that has not first been assigned a ‘meaning’ in relation to the whole”‘). It is questionable, however, whether this text does not tie together two forces that in other respects would be held apart – two forces that Kafka distinguished, even opposed, in The Great Wall of China. For, when one tries to discover how primitive segmented communities give rise to other forms of sovereignty – a question Nietzsche raises in the second part of The Genealogy – one sees that two entirely different yet strictly related phenomena occur. It is true that, at the center, the rural communities are absorbed by the despot’s bureaucratic machine, which includes its scribes, its priests, its functionaries. But on the periphery, these communities commence a sort of adventure, They enter into another kind of unit, this time a nomadic association, a nomadic war machine, and they begin to decodify instead of allowing themselves to become overcodified. Whole groups depart; they become nomads. Archaeologists have led us to conceive of this nomadism not as a primary state, but as an adventure suddenly embarked upon by sedentary groups impelled by the attraction of movement, of what lies outside. The nomad and his war machine oppose the despot with his administrative machine: an extrinsic nomadic unit as opposed to an intrinsic despotic unit. And yet the societies are correlative, interrelated; the despot’s purpose will be to integrate, to internalize the nomadic war machine, while that of the nomad will be to invent an administration for the newly conquered empire. They ceaselessly oppose one another – to the point where they become confused with one another.

Philosophic discourse is born out of the imperial state, and it passes through innumerable metamorphoses, the same metamorphoses that lead us from the foundations of empire to the Greek city. Even within the Greek city-state, philosophic discourse remained in a strict relation with the despot (or at least within the shadow of despotism), with imperialism, with the administration of things and people (Leo Strauss and Kojève give a variety of proofs of this in their work On Tyranny). Philosophic discourse has always been essentially related to law, institutions, and contracts – which taken together, constitute the subject matter of sovereignty and have been part of the history of sedentary peoples from the earliest despotic states to [149] modem democracies. The “signifier” is really the last philosophical metamorphosis of the despot. But if Nietzsche does not belong to philosophy, it is perhaps because he was the first to conceive of another kind of discourse as counter-philosophy. This discourse is above all nomadic; its statements can be conceived as the products of a mobile war machine and not the utterances of a rational, administrative machinery, whose philosophers would be bureaucrats of pure reason. It is perhaps in this sense that Nietzsche announces the advent of a new politics that begins with him (which Klossowski calls a plot against his own class).

It is common knowledge that nomads fare miserably under our kinds of regime: we will go to any lengths in order to settle them, and they barely have enough to subsist on. Nietzsche lived like such a nomad, reduced to a shadow, moving from furnished room to furnished room. But the nomad is not necessarily one who moves: some voyages take place in situ, are trips in intensity. Even historically, nomads are not necessarily those who move about like migrants. On the contrary, they do not move; nomads, they nevertheless stay in the same place end continually evade the codes of settled people. We also know that the problem for revolutionaries today is to unite within the purpose of the particular struggle without falling into the despotic and bureaucratic organization of the party or state apparatus. We seek a kind of war machine that will not re-create a state apparatus, a nomadic unit related to the outside that will not revive an internal despotic unity. Perhaps this is what is most profound in Nietzsche’s thought and marks the extent of his break with philosophy, at least so far as it is manifested in the aphorism: he made thought into a machine of war – a battering ram – into a nomadic force. And even if the journey is a motionless one, even if it occurs on the spot, imperceptible, unexpected, and subterranean, we must ask ourselves, “Who are our nomads today, our real Nietzscheans’?

0e232e12a3dd395e914cb45c491728d5-large© Daesung Lee, from the series Futuristic Archeology, 2013-14.

dcc4a4be3cc55a8e79bec3e2c4c4b702-large© Daesung Lee, from the series Futuristic Archeology, 2013-14.


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