“ÁNOMOS, or the lawless land”
“ÁNOMOS, or the lawless land” is proposed as a multidisciplinary research project that, situated in an iconic agricultural area of Central Europe, imagines the environmental implications of the disintegration of the Nomos of the Earth. Parting from an art-sci approach and using different technological tools (orthometric height, climate measuring, taxonomic identification) the project will imagine the Hollabrunn territory without the presence of the sedentary human collectivities.
During the last five years, my art prac(ce has been focused on ethnobiology and wildlife, applied mainly in natural environments. This condi(on led me to a reflec(on on ‘displacement’ as a contra-cultural and an(-colonial prac(ce. In the Northwest of Mexico and the US Southwest where I have developed my artwork, Na(ve Tribes had been obligated to abandon their nomadic way of life by both na(onal states along the border. This, in order to establish the right among land in terms of private property, opposed to the Aridoamerican common concep(on about the land as the owner of its own. Cultures that had resisted adop(ng ius gen(um had been pushed to an intensive process of disappearance. That has had a deep footprint on territory, resul(ng in the transforma(on of wild environments in agricultural and industrial lands. This led me to think about agriculture — source of sedentarism— and about the process by which human collec(vi(es take over the territories and transform them. To jus(fy that transforma(on, they establish a ‘law’ to rule over umwelt. In The Nomos of the Earth (1950), Carl SchmiC describes the global process of appropria(on of land as Eurocentric. Following Jared Diamond’s proposal that geographical condi(ons —fer(le soils, caCle availability, and natural barriers— encouraged the development of expansive and compe(ng na(ons in Europe, there is a short step to argue that these same condi(ons contributed to the strengthening and consolida(on of the ‘Nomos of the Earth’ in this con(nent, with the organized distribu(on of lands and the military dispute of powers among them, before its expansion overseas.
We have every reason to believe that ius gen(um is not equivalent to a ‘natural law’. Even so, its establishment as a universal concept jus(fied the capture of territories, human and non-human collec(vi(es under colonial forms turning the world “unwild”. “Ánomos” —in Greek, “without law” or “lawless”— was previewed by SchmiC in his reading of Apostle Paul. For the Chris(an faith, Ánomos would be the An(christ rule, so the Empire (katechon) would restrain its appearance. This implicates an impera(ve of ‘seCling the Nomad’, that could be observed in the different strategies of the colonial powers to restrict the mobility of the different nomadic and semi-nomadic Indigenous groups: missions, reduc(ons, reserva(ons, among others; which in essence are similar to the names we have given to our contemporary natural sanctuaries. These ac(ons had ecological consequences: the intensive use of most of the land, which modified the environment in global terms and that, in the long run, caused the ecological catastrophe in which we find ourselves. So, the ques(on would be if we could be able to think and propose an inverse process founded in an alterna(ve code: an “Ánomos of the Earth” in which land, sea and air, would be freed from the human domain, what doesn’t mean our abandonment of the world but perhaps the assimila(on of nomadic ethics. This has deep conceptual implica(ons: to resign to the Polis in spa(al terms may implicate a relinquishing of ‘poli(cs’, which doesn’t mean the abandonment of the ‘communitarian experience’ or of any delibera(on processes, but to the sedentary ethos. To resign to the Oikos too, may implicate a reformula(on of ecology, once that no longer could be talked about a fixed ‘home’ but about spaces of ‘becoming’.