Nomad-Machine, a mapping apparatus
The investigation began with an appreciation of the vast proportion of ground-space that the city of Austin devotes unequivocally to car: an issue no doubt symptomatic of many other North American cities. This fixed coding of ground use striates urban space and limits the kinds of activities that can occur.
A hypothesis unfolded. To belong in car space, a subject must share certain essential properties with cars. The common property tested here was the size of the subject, rather than velocity.
An apparatus emerged. A tool that can transform a pedestrian biped into an ambiguous car-sized subject with no means of being classified into existing social categories of moving things. Despite matching the automobile in size, the Nomad-Machine is clearly not an automobile. It has no motor other than the foot movement of its operator.
The nomad, following Deleuze and Guattari, is a deterritorialized agent that can transgress boundaries as it moves freely. The Situationist psychogeographers were looking for something similar in their derives through Paris. Richard Linklater already mapped this potential for an unbroken continuity of situations here in Austin with Slacker, 1991. These and others have attempted to open possibilities by effacing preconceptions and allowing us to view our context in a new way. It is this broader value that I hoped to capture in the investigation.
The Nomad-Machine was assembled and put to the test in May 2015. The drift through west campus is documented in a brief four-minute film as well as a few stills from the movie.
Lastly, a very special thank you to Thom Wolfe, as well as John Vehko and Dennis Delaney, for helping with the disassembly and disposal of the Nomad-Machine.