Futuro Estate

Ferguson, Nick (2015) Futuro Estate. Futuro Estate. .


Futuro Estate is a permanent public artwork sited on the Al Majaz Waterfront, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. It was commissioned by Alexandra MacGilp for the exhibition Imitation Game 2015-16 and funded by the Maraya Art Foundation. The materials and dimensions are as follows: fibreglass, stainless steel, fittings. H: 6m W: 1.8m. D: 1.8m. The commission extends the artist’s research into political histories of the built environment, focusing on bird life on the seafront area of Sharjah. This is an area that in the last 50 years has undergone rapid transformation from fishing port and wetlands to an oil fuelled metropolis. The work, a birdhouse with nesting boxes for 42 pairs of birds, is imagined in the first instance as a kind of probe that, by being inserted directly into the environment, will serve a measure of birdlife in the city – an instrument through which to glimpse an emerging and shifting ecology. Unlike the dovecotes that grace rural residencies through much of the Middle East, and which provide a home for birds that serve as both companion and food, Estate is proposed as a resource for feral birds. Which species though (if any) will make use of it? If it is occupied, will it serve simply as a platform on which to gather, see and be seen or will it be colonised for nesting? How might its existence modify our understanding of the “right to the city”, so that right may be taken as a privilege of Sharjah’s birds as much as one belonging to humans? And if so, will some birds be thought of as more rightful residents than others, say, indigenous species as opposed to those more recent, if naturalised, arrivals? Which species, once indigenous to this coastline will be conspicuous by their absence? In focusing on bird life the artist has revisited earlier works that direct attention to the reception of birds in the city and the commission arises from the curator having seen one of these works exhibited Space Station 65, London 2006. For this commission the work has been fabricated by a third party, making use of processes and materials used in the construction industry. The artwork was launched in conjunction with a public programme at the Maraya Arts Centre, a catalogue, an interview with the artist on Dubai’s local TV network and an interview with the artist by the Maraya Arts Centre, made available online through the Maraya Arts Centre website

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