Nearly all discourses on migration (to my knowledge) emphasise that the migrant is not so much a traveller, but a figure oriented towards settlement and a particular destination. Discourses on migration have attended more to the process and site of ‘arrival’, and few studies have focused on the process and site of ‘departure’. However, central to the thesis of this paper would be the testimony of two migrant houses – one in the city of immigration (Melbourne, Australia), and the other in the village of emigration (Zavoj in Macedonia). The focus will be on the Zavoj house as a significant house, a house that points to a thesis about how architecture makes explicit other processes of migration, namely that of ‘return’. Here there are several intertwined communities and nations, and also different notions of community and nation. It has been noted that ‘diaspora’ is constituted through longer distances, severe separation, and a taboo on return. And yet implicit in many more ‘autobiographical’ accounts is that one only leaves with a promise to return. The conflict and question of ‘return’ is at the centre of the migrant’s imaginary. A study of the two houses of migration implicates a set of networks, forces, relations, circumscribing a much larger global geopolitical and cultural field that questions our understandings of diaspora, the currency of transnationalism, the binary structure of dwelling/travelling, and the fabric and fabrication of community. But the study goes inwards and underneath as well through the figure of the migrant, the figure through which the two migrant houses are deeply associated. The paper will explore the subjective nature of the thesis, the idea of a ‘migrant house’ as an imaginary architecture, a psychic geography, an imaginary community and sense of nationhood.
Field of Research
129999 Built Environment and Design not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective
970112 Expanding Knowledge in Built Environment and Design