In the chapter “Huts, parasites, and nomads: the deconstruction of the house” from “The Good Life” (2017), Abalos talks about the deconstruction of the traditional form of the house in the post-industrial capitalist city. He introduces the figure of the “nomad” and how on one hand it originated from this new society, but on the other it antagonizes it.

He takes as a reference “A Thousand Plateaus” (1980), by Deleuze and Guattari, who depict the nomads as itinerant warriors fighting against the sedentary form of the modern state.

“This new social subject is thus both consequence and vector of the economic globalization of the territory. For sedentary civilizations and their inhabitants he is, like all nomads, a parasite, a predator who uses the cities, who has originated from them but contributes, from their point of view, to their destruction, because he operates against them, devouring the result of collective effort for his own benefit.” Abalos, “The Good Life”, p.182

Another example of the nomad represented as a parasite of the capitalist city, is Toyo Ito’s project “Tokyo’s nomad girl” which creates the tent-like dwelling of a nomad figure living inside the modern consumerist society of Tokyo.

Pao II (1989)
Pao II (1989)

“The nomad girl lives as a parasite in the city – understood as the infrastructure of her leisure and work- and obliterates the limits of the house, of its privacy, to the point of converting it into an extremely fragile little space in which to get dressed up and organize her dates.” Abalos, “The Good Life”, p.184

Pao I (1985) Interior view

“The nomad girl doesn’t resist or act, doesn’t exert pressure on the environment, but is ready to embody in herself the object of the activities and propositions created by her urban environment. Her existence is an immolation so that consumerism can be embodied and thereby take on physical form.” Abalos, “The Good Life”, p.185

Pao I (1985) Conceptual drawing

“The nomad girl is parasitic because she doesn’t produce anything like sedentary inhabitants do. Yet for all that she fulfills a function within the mechanics of post-industrial capitalism, since her consumerism is basic to the system: it avoids over-accumulation and regulates the fluidity of circulation of commodities.” Abalos, “The Good Life”, p.185