40  Natti Shmia-Ofer | ביתא

The ‘Building Beita’ Residency / May-September 2014 

Beita project description: 

making roofing tiles out of bird food / BeitaGrow

The piece ‘outline for pigeon square’ is a plan to construct a temporary community factory for the creation of roofing tiles from bird food, as a research of life forms, and a vision of returning songbirds to the urban sphere.



Natti Shmia-Ofer born 1965, is an interdisciplinary artist and industrial designer, who graduated the Art department of the Bezalel academy (1990) as well as the Industrial Design department (1993). She received an MA in film and television studies from Tel Aviv University (2008). Natti Shmia-Ofer teaches at the Bezalel art academy since 1997 and was appointed to be a senior lecturer in 2006. In her works, Natti Shmia-Ofer constructs possibilities for physical experiences, simulations of walking in actual, virtual, or fictional spaces, which allow the body to carry the memory of its existence, an existence that documents and preserves its presence in space. These topics and others are constantly studied and collected through objects, installations, performance and video art. Natti Shmia-Ofer has participated in 9 individual exhibitions and over 30 group exhibitions in galleries and museums around the world.


To the Project and picture gallery

Outline for Pigeon Square’ / Natti Shmia-Ofer 

  What is the boarder between home and exterior? how can nature merge with with the city? how can systems blend? is it possible to think differently about ecological and economic processes, such as the flow of resources, surplus of merchandise, the movement of animals and plants in the urban space? ‘Outline for Pigeon Square’ describes a plan to establish a temporary community factory, for the creation of roof tiles made from bird food. In the next phase of the program the mass of created roof  tiles will be used to cover an abandoned structure in the urban sphere, inviting birds to gather in an urban seed field and to penetrate the roof into the building. It is an outline for a poetic vision occurring while attempting to research the specific — surroundings of the Seidoff building-near the food market as well as the hostory of the building as a flooring factory. It asks to raise questions regarding the place of nature in the urban sphere within a contemporary cultural context that expresses compartmentalisation, policing, and total separation; the municipality prefers artificial gardening in designated flowerbeds, over wild growth erupting from beneath the pavement, as well as distancing animals from the city areas. The pigeon squares that in the not so distant past represented urban life have been replaced with a policy of extermination

Outline for Pigeon Square asks to offer a possibility to return different types of song birds to the urban space and to outline a potential poetic connection  between the covering and protected house and the imagined wild nature, in a relationship where processes of building and  destruction go side by side. The project is sponsored by the Dagan factory 

מפעל דגן.JPG

Notes from the Work process

Between the roof and the basement: a quick visit to six zen gardens- or thoughts on the places where the city unravels

 following an hour tour to the boarder between the Seidoff roof and the municipality building’s basement

on the roof of the Seidoff building (23 stories) a hidden zen garden is revealed, forgotten heaps of sand represent a transition stage, a moment before the renovation of the roof. The hose wants to seal itself from the forces of nature – the precipitation threaten to penetrate its shell but the scattered heaps of sand create a cartography  of wild nature rooted  in incidentalness, floating in the urban landscape of the city, representing a frozen moment of the process. Will the heaps be forgotten? will the process stop? Will the interior breach the exterior and the urban turn into natural



Zen Garden 1: sand heaps on the roof of a house on Jaffa street, view from the Seidoff building

Three stations from the roof of the municipality  basement we meet Natalie ruling her kingdom. Natalie works at the model of the city from the day of its establishment, the city of jerusalem is spread at her feet, units and units of models in different levels of details, for a moment she seems like a resurrected Herod ,conducting the kingdom of the city. Are the little models under her protection created in the city above and turn into ferocious monsters  populate and occupy the city, or does she listen to the sounds of the city  and echoes them in her handy work in silence and industriousness. 

 A side view suddenly reveals another magical moment of unclarity from the margins of the model buildings erupt- units that the cartography could not contain, buildings that are half rooted in the earth of the cartography and  half floating in air. Like monuments from a science fiction film they seem to unravel. 

srghsfgגZen garden 2: model of Jerusalem municipality building basement 

  More houses in the center of the space are discovered as modernist blocs with no details. Here the economic mechanism behind it is revealed , there are no artistic intentions besides the formula that details equal money. Entrepreneurs who do not pay the full price for creating the model, receive a simplified model without details, pure modernism made of foamed poliuretan belongs to the ,scrimping real-estate tycoons  while the details splendour and majesty remain in possession of the people. 

! viva la revolucion 

Houses that seem like tombstones, are scattered in the remote regions of the space, the work area, here they are born, and here they are also ripped out the world when the time  comes, a moment before they are sent to storage in the center’s archive, in the cemetery populated with ghosts of the city. the keyboard, work tools, scattered boxes and ripped buildings seem for a moment as a new city built on Natalie’s work table, a dynamic and flexible utopian city, that contains the different production elements but also a past present and future, and all at the same time, effortlessly, like a fable of passion for the establishment of a new city. 

Zen Garden 3: fourth step, Beita Buildingsrghsf

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