The Small Nomadic Atlas is a crowd-funded artistic research done by a curious applied artist. It consists of field-research, theoretic research and live prototyping. I am mapping nomadic life of nomads in Mongolia and the Netherlands. To put theory into practice I am developing a nomadic life of my own. The result of all this research will be a publication: Small Nomadic Atlas of Mongolia and the Netherlands.

Research methods:

Talk: speak with experts about their lives. Nomads of all kinds and missing pieces such as Mongolian immigrants, Dutch herds-people and farmers.
Join: living for a few weeks with some of the experts, learning (about) their skills, observe.
Map: using context mapping tools for experts to share hidden knowledge. Creating maps of the lives of experts from observation, talks and context mapping sessions.
Read: articles, books, watch videos, close gaps in knowledge.
analyse, formulate, experiment, evoke discussion and share research journey.
Experiment: finding my own ways to live in the public space.
Create: a home, a mode, a path through the city of Amsterdam-Noord.
Share: cooking for passers-by, giving talks, exchange local knowledge, spread the word.


If you do not have everything you need, what do you do? What are priorities? What is your relationship and balance with your environment? I will analyse and compare case-studies in Mongolia and the Netherlands to see if I can find a system in nomadic living.
Zones: attitudes: personal values, relationships with others, interaction with society; physical: objects, private space, public space, landscape; ephemeral: movement, path, time, elements.

Mongolia: in three months I have mapped a city dweller of Ulaanbaatar, inhabitants of small towns and reindeer riders in the Northern taiga. The first month I was part of the nomadic family of Ooltzee and Ooltzeeburen in the center of Mongolia. I have joined in the herding, house-keeping and anything else that needed to be done. They have been my teachers in the language and nomadic life of Mongolia.
Netherlands: there are many different kinds of nomads in our densely populated country. Think of travelling agents, free-thinkers, it-specialists and homeless wanderers. I will map different typologies and see what they have in common. Do you know an urban nomad? Send an e-mail to contact >at< smallnomadicatlas >dot< com.

Creating a nomad:

Listening and observing fill a pool of information, from which essence trickles down to my hands. The creation of installations, prototypes and experiments with nomadic life, form the thread that binds the Small Nomadic Atlas together. It creates a feedback-loop to the more theoretic research, helping to turn data into information, connecting experience to knowledge.

My own nomadic life started in April 2013 as a sedentary artist in residence at project space Rhizomatic. There I have built my BedMobile based on my experiences as a camper: a bicycle drawn cart that expands into an insulated tent.
The next step was to learn to learn how to travel. In Mongolia I then immersed myself for a month in the lives of Mongolian herders Ulzii and Ulziburen.

When I came back I tried to implement what I learned from Ulzii and Ulziburen into the city of Amsterdam-North. I finished my BedMobile and for six weeks I lived with my two goats in the backyards of Amsterdam-North. How did the Mongolian steppes and the Dutch suburbs relate? Where could I find grass, shelter, food, friends and make a living? According to the Economist ‘Bedouins do not bring their own water because they know where the oases are’. Therefore I searched Amsterdam-Noord for oases, for the commons in the physical world. Read more >>

In the meanwhile I left a permanent home and moved my stuff to room with a friend. After a Winter indoors on different couches I want to know if I could be a real backyard nomad. Read more >>
The last step will be to develop my own set of play rules, find good spaces and create a home to live in for the next five years.


After all this research, reading and testing you will be able to hold an atlas, although the medium is yet undecided. I will analyse my findings and share my big adventure with you. Then you can see if there is a nomad in you too.
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