Stationary Nomad

An article about a Korean-American artist, Paik Nam June, caught my eyes the other day. In the article, there were words by the artist. Following is my translation of his words.

It is moving our thought without moving our body even a centimeter further. I made a new term ‘Stationary nomad’ to define it. Human race hasn’t reached to the stage yet. (by Baik Nam June)

His brief background is: born in Seoul (Korea), but his family fled to Japan during the Korean War. He studied in Japan and moved to Germany to study further. And then, he moved to New York and stayed there many years as an artist. Then he finally returned to his homeland, Korea. His life was quite nomadic. No wonder he could think of the term, stationary nomad. Paik didn’t settle down one place but moved between places. I would doubt if he’d never had homesick or anything, but his mind wasn’t fixated on the homeland or one place but wandered around wherever he could make a life, a stationary nomad, as I would interpret the term.


His art world is not easily understood in my head, but his nomadic life is easily related to mine. Not every immigrant lives like a nomad: rather, it is the other way around. Living away from the homeland, an immigrant family strives to make their new land home, which to me seems a reaction to their unstable life in the new land. The family bond is stronger than that of a non-immigrant family. However, one major pain (I think it is) is unintentionally to make themselves isolated in the new land without having many chances to see what’s out there. Nobody is at fault in the pain. First when I came to the States, one funny thing was I could kind of tell when a Korean immigrant came to the States by (especially) her appearance. If the 70s, she has the look of the 70s’, if the 80s, then the look of the 80s. Even after the 20 or 30 years, she hadn’t been able to blend herself into the new land.

For me, I may have the look of the 90s. Maybe not, haha, as I am a nomad, not yet stationary one. As far as life is concerned, there is no right or wrong way or answer. Let’s see how mine unfolds.

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