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The dichotomy between the sedentary and the nonsedentary, between people who are settled and those who are not, determines Vilém Flusser’s understanding of migration. “Settled” and “not settled” are not conditions, they are processes: “being expelled, wandering in the void, and finally, being beached somewhere” (The Freedom of the Migrant, 2003, p. 25). Human beings are “restless animal”[s] (ibid.) and migration is part of their condition; in fact, in order to live as a true human being, to be nonsedentary is existential, philosophically speaking. Migration, together with nomadism, are Flusserian concepts with basso continuo qualities – they meander through Flusser’s writings as he explores different disciplinary territories and ways of being without settling down in any one particular area, gathering (epistemologically) experience in one place and imparting it to others. Migration, for Flusser, is an aspiration, an active choice of throwing off or losing, sometimes involuntarily, the fluffy, muffling blanket of the habitually settled who hold on to and try to maintain the mysteries within which they are enshrouded. Migration holds the promise of counteracting the sedentary human being’s tendencies to create mysteries around their dwellings and homes or Heimat, complete with nostalgia and grand narratives. The migrant personifies a disturbing window – a window on the world – and at the same time he or she serves as a mirror as well: the migrant reflects those enveloped by the self-perpetuating mysteries of Heimat or homeland. The migrant as window or mirror, as disruptor takes on two additional roles: that of “vanguard of the future” (ibid., p. 15) and that of a medium. The migrant is the medium for fields of possibilities that include new insights, new bonds, and a new “awakened consciousness” (ibid.). As such, he or she facilitates dialogues that connect committed people: according to Flusser, this is a process filled with mysteries all of its own.

Original article by Anke Finger in Flusseriana

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migration.txt · Last modified: 2023/03/12 17:09 by steffi_winkler