Building a Pigeon Tower

A mycelium-based artwork with Arne Hendriks

20 Jun 2020

Did you know that pigeon's shit is an extremely good fertiliser? And the waste of mushroom production too? That's why we combine the two by building a number of pigeon towers on our terrain. We invite pigeons to Mediamatic and use their excrements to produce local supercompost. 

Come and help us building a pigeon tower made out of mushroom waste material. Artist and pigeon-lover Arne Hendriks will have the lead in the communal experience of designing a pigeon heaven.



Pigeon Tower on Dam Square - Arne Hendrik's imagined pigeon tower standing on Dam Square (sketch). Arne Hendriks

Nowadays most people consider pigeons to be a nuisance. Perhaps we should reconsider this. In other cultures, pigeon are in high esteem and pigeon towers are regarded as a symbol of wealth. Also in our city, pigeons bring spectacle and dynamism to the cityscape. They help clean the city by eating food that's been discarded on the streets. If they could also produce fertiliser, for example for urban farming projects, their status will grow and (much like bees producing honey) enter into a highly valued relationship with people. That's why we are building this pigeon tower.

We use fertile mycelium from our expert mycologist and mushroom farmer Wouter Hassing as materials for the tower. This will even enhance the value of the resulting compost. And it solves the unused waste problem that many mushroom farmers have. The challenge will be to build a stable and pigeon-friendly tower with this waste. It will be the first in a series of many to come.

What you will do

We don't know yet how to build the tower. No one has ever built a pigeon tower from fungus waste. Part of the challenge is to incorporate the process of decomposition of the tower in our design. Arne Hendriks will guide you on this collaborative experience of designing and building an artful pigeon toilet from mycelium. You will come to learn a lot about how pigeons live, and especially, how they shit. 

Arne Hendriks

Arne Hendriks is an artist and researcher on human ecology. He explores the borders of specific cultural values that define our relationship with the planet. His project The Incredible Shrinking Man has gained a lot of attention. At Mediamatic he directed Kool Abundance and pigeon towers from paper.


Workshop: Building a Pigeon Tower
Saturday June 20, 14:30-17:00
Mediamatic Biotoop, Dijksgracht 6, Amsterdam
Tickets: Full price €7,50 | Student / Artist / Stadspas €5,25* (incl. €1,- administration costs)

Attendance limited to 15 people. We maintain a minimum of 6 participants.

Please note that (unless everyone speaks Dutch) this event will be held in English.