Mechanical and unambiguous, Sharjah’s industrial areas are perpetuated through self-organizing moving parts. Piles of automotive waste make their way through tracts of dusty roads on bicycles. Stores display and sell reworked lights, steering wheels, and oil filters. The region’s waste here is transformed into new products. Within this animated system, the question “Where does life happen?” reverberates — at every glimpse of empty plots and unoccupied interstitial spaces.

As Papa Omotayo and Eve Nnaji walked through this industrial area, encountering continuous plots of recycled materials and products — life came in pockets. They came across a mound of vegetative waste expelling an organic smell, foreign to the mechanical landscape. Then, an alleyway of nurtured plants, a series of cramped mechanic stores hosting small bird cages, and finally, a place of solace among plants and birds, created by the local workers.

What happens when a platform is provided to this dispersed agency — to recognize a collective point of rest? “We Rest at the Bird’s Nest” creates an array of nesting rooms for humans and birds. Arrayed in rows, small dwellings composed of paper and grass offer sanctuary and meeting grounds for the region’s birds. This layered form, composed of elementary organic waste found in the area and scaffolding, suggests its lifespan abides by the ephemeral nature of both ecology and construction.

At the end of its use, the structure will undergo the natural digestion of the industrial zone or perhaps find a new beginning. This space offers a template for collective agency by reinforcing the simplest habits of rest; tending, caring, and observing.

We Rest at the Bird’s Nest