Potr? came to the JCVA in November 2010. This was her first professional visit to Israel. She toured such large cities as Tel Aviv, Bat-Yam and Jerusalem and explored some of the periphery and the South, including many kibbutzim in the Negev (Lotan, Ne’ot Smadar and Sde Boker) and the urban kibbutz (Tammuz) in Beit Shemesh.
Port? was particularly interested in the kibbutz as a model of community. As part of her research on this social form she met with Yaara Bar-On, deputy director of Bezalel, who has recently published a book on the history of the kibbutzim, and Yuval Yaski who was the curator of Israel’s pavilion on the kibbutz in the last Biennial of Architecture in Venice. She was interested in the idea of the collaborative model, as well as the changes undergone during the kibbutz crisis, which began in the 1980’s, and the consequent restructuring of the “revitalized” (or privatized) kibbutzim. Potr? designed her own architectural research trip, and the JCVA introduced her to experts such as Alona Nitzan-Shiftan to learn about architecture’s influence on public opinion and social life in Israel’s cities.
In the course of her stay, Potr? observed Bat Yam and found it rich with possibilities for renewal and visited the Sala-Manca Group’s Mamuta Project. Both at Mamuta and at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, she presented an exciting lecture on her world view, her on-site architectural projects and her multi-faceted art.
The Cook, the Farmer, His Wife and Their Neighbour, 2009
A collaborative project by Marjetica Potrc and Wilde West in Nieuw-West Amsterdam
The on-site project is a community garden and community kitchen in the Nieuw West district of Amsterdam. A previously unused site at Lodewijk van Deysselstraat 61 becomes a community kitchen. The vegetable garden is located behind the kitchen in what was once a fenced-off yard, what the Dutch call a kijkgroen (“look-only garden”). The garden and the kitchen help to create bonds between the neighborhood residents and serve as a catalyst for transforming not only the public space but the community itself. The project is an example of “redirective practice”, in which people from various disciplines and backgrounds work together to find new ways to build a shared community. Amsterdam’s Nieuw West district was originally designed in the 1930s as a Dutch garden city. Today, however, it faces the problems of widespread unemployment and the integration of new arrivals. At the same time, this is one of the largest residential redevelopment areas in the European Union. The Cook, the Farmer, His Wife and Their Neighbour is a case study for redesigning the modernist neighborhood from below and redefining rural and urban coexistence.
The Great Republic of New Orleans, 2007
In The Great Republic of New Orleans, Potr? uses freehand text in a series of drawings that make up a colorful storyboard. “Long before Katrina, long before industrial society, we settled in the wetlands, on the banks of the Mississippi,” the text of the first drawing says. Through anecdotes, environmental ideas, humor, and occasional cultural or political commentary, she goes on to describe an unexpected New Orleans, whose residents address the viewer in the collective voice of the first-person plural. The story of the city speaks to us through its life, its people, and its society, all of which are revealed in these direct, childlike drawings.