Institutional, artistic and legal approaches to ecosystem rights and the political participation of more-than-human entities
Sat 10 December 2022, 11 a.m.—8 p.m.

with lunch, dinner und drinks by Paula Erstmann

For a full day, the Temporary Gallery explores different approaches to ecosystem rights and the political participation of more-than-human entities.
The workshop How to do a Zoöperation? with Klaas Kuitenbrouwer and Wietske Nutma (Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam) invites to get to know first steps towards the foundation of a more-than-human organization, a Zöoperation (organization model for collaboration between humans and other-than-human life).
The artist group Club Real lets microorganisms participate in democratic decision-making processes. Their lecture performance Jenseits der Natur explores ecosystems as democracies of organisms.

In a short lecture, Dr. Andreas Gutmann (University of Kassel) will give an introduction to the rights of nature from a legal perspective. Finally, the participants will discuss which synergies could arise at the interface with legal, artistic and institutional practices.

How can art and law work together to promote cultural change toward a post-anthropocentric, decolonial, and anti-patriarchal understanding of nature?

During the breaks, artist Paula Erstmann will provide all participants with a variety of dishes, snacks, and drinks.

Registration for the workshop until 08.12.22 at (please specify food allergies)
The events can be attended individually.
The event will be held alternately in English and German.

The workshop is part of the program „Instituting in Circles: Ecological approaches in art and art institutions” curated by Nada Rosa Schroer.

11 a.m.—1 p.m.
Workshop Zoöp Part I: Mapping the site - What living things are present on site?

1—2 p.m.
Lunch by/with Paula Erstmann

2—5:30 p.m.
Workshop Zoöp Part II: Discussion and role play - how can the interests of all entities be considered institutionally?

5:30—6 p.m.
Coffee break

6—7 p.m.
Lecture Performance Club Real "Beyond Nature - Ecosystems as Democracies of Organisms"

7—8 p.m.
Input by Dr. Andreas Gutmann (University of Kassel) on rights of nature and final discussion with  Dr. Andreas Gutmann, Club Real, Klaas Kiutenbrouwer and Wietske Nutma

starting 8 p.m.
Dinner and drinks with/by Paula Erstmann

How to do a Zoöperation?
Workshop with Klaas Kuitenbrouwer and Wietske Nutma (Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam)
11 a.m.—5:30 p.m. with lunch break
in English language

A Zoöperation (or Zoöp, in short) is a cooperation with zoë (Greek for ‘life’). Zoöp is an organization model for collaboration between humans and other-than-human life, that serves the interests of all life. The Zoöp model makes the interests of other-than-human life part of the decision making of an organization. In principle, any organization can adopt the Zoöp model. Zoöp is a governance practice, a learning process and a basis for collaboration between different organizations. Zoöps work on the constant improvement of their ecological integrity. Their aim is to become symbiotic with the ecosystems they participate in. Together they work on the fostering of a regenerative economy (or zoönomy), an economy that supports all life.

In this workshop at the Temporary Gallery in Cologne, the participants practice the basic steps of becoming a Zoöp and of reading the organization’s ecological integrity. Based on this they will explore how to decide what to change in order to improve the ecological integrity of the operational sphere of the organization.

Beyond Nature - Ecosystems as Democracies of Organisms
Lecture Performance with Club Real (Marianne Ramsay-Sonneck and Georg Reinhardt)
6—7 p.m.
in German language

Who owns the city and who owns the land? Which of the millions of ecosystem species has a voice that is heard? Who has a say in turning a forest into a forested area, a brownfield into a housing development, or a mining landscape into a hazardous waste dump? What kinds of democratic assembly are possible that make other-than-human living beings heard and - even beyond temporary art projects - participate in power? The organism democracies developed since 2017 by Club Real together with citizens in Vienna, Berlin, Gelsenkirchen, Augsburg, Leipzig and Paris find new answers to these questions.

Organism democracy is a model for the assembly and political involvement of all living beings in the development and maintenance of an ecosystem. In selected ecosystems, all organisms that live there - from the reddish shiner snail to the ash maple to the root nodule bacterium - are given equal political rights. Humans get to know their other-than-human fellow citizens and give them a voice in parliaments of living beings. The results and decisions of the democratic assemblies become the "government order" for the care and development of the ecosystems. As models of cross-species good coexistence, they should have an inspiring effect on other communities and show ways to break out of the loneliness and idiocy of human autocracy over the biosphere.

Ecosystems as a democratic and juridical subjects
Input by Dr. Andreas Gutmann
Closing discussion with Dr. Andreas Gutmann, Klaas Kuitenbrouwer/ Wietske Nutma and Club Real
7—8 p.m.
in German language

The right of nature to itself is part of many indigenous cosmologies. The debate about nature as a legal subject is also gaining momentum in Western jurisprudence and law, and indigenous struggles have played a large part in this. Yet, to date, the environment has been considered merely an object of extraction or protection in most states of the Global North.

In a short lecture, Dr. Andreas Gutmann will give an introduction to the rights of nature. What is the relevance of the legal symmetry of human and non-human entities for the conservation of livelihoods? In what direction is the German legal system evolving, both in terms of recognizing the rights of nature and in terms of intergenerational and international climate justice?

The launch discussion asks about the specific modes of action of legal, artistic, and institutional practices. How can these approaches come together to promote cultural change toward a post-anthropocentric, non-extractivist, and anti-patriarchal understanding of nature?

The artist group Club Real has been developing participatory, site-specific projects since 2000. Installations, one-to-one encounters, political role plays, and participatory urban development projects invite visitors to co-create alternative conceptions of reality. Since 2018, Club Real has been working on the participatory political experiment Organism Democracy in Berlin, Vienna, Gelsenkirchen, and Augsburg. In 2020/2021, Berlin's Organism Democracy was part of ARCH+'s exhibition and project series Cohabitation, and in Gelsenkirchen, Club Real realized the project 800,000 Years of Photosynthesis for Urbane Künste Ruhr. In 2023-2025, the Augsburg Republic of Living Beings was created in Augsburg in collaboration with the Brecht Festival. Club Real has been bringing together people from diverse backgrounds since its inception. Permanent members are Marianne Ramsay-Sonneck, Paz Ponce, Georg Reinhardt, Mathias Lenz and Thomas Hauck.,, @clubrealberlin

Paula Erstmann is an artist working predominantly with edibles as her artistic medium to create a sense of community and stimulate a dialogue between people. There are numerous performative gestures in the everyday rituals of eating. The culinary work of the Berlin-based artist are research works between art and the everyday: they re- and decontextualize codes that we associate with the act of eating, specific ingredients, or the sense of taste. They open sensual as well as social spaces to generate social experiences. And above all they encourage to perceive food (and its presentation) as an aesthetic and resonant medium of communication - and to rethink its possibilities. Paula is a food poet and social activist.

Andreas Gutmann works as a PostDoc in the field of Just Transitions at the University of Kassel and is currently a legal trainee at the Berlin Kammergericht with stations at the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and the Federal Constitutional Court, among others. He studied law in Freiburg im Breisgau and Santa Marta, Colombia and received his PhD from the University of Bremen with the title "Hybrid Legal Subjectivity - The Rights of "Nature or Pacha Mama" in the Ecuadorian Constitution of 2008". In a DFG-funded project, he is conducting research on rights of nature with partners from Ecuador. Research interests include critical and postcolonial legal theory, environmental law, and police and assembly law.

Klaas Kuitenbrouwer is senior researcher at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam and teaches theory at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy. He works at the intersections of art, design, technology and ecology. In 2018 he initiated the Zoöp project: the design and implementation of an organization model that safeguards the interests of all life. Together with Ellen Zoete he curated Have We Met? Humans and nonhumans on common ground, the Dutch contribution to the Milan Triennial in 2022, This exhibition demonstrated the work of existing and future Zoöps and won the first prize for best pavilion.

After graduating from the Royal Academy of Art in 2019, Wietske Nutma has been working as a multidisciplinary designer and researcher. In her practice she works across the fields of design, ecology and participation in an effort to find ways to contribute to the living world. Wietske has been working at Het Nieuwe Instituut since February 2021 where she joined the Zoöp project to explore what it means to - and how we can - live together in multispecies communities.

How to Zöop, Photo: Patricia de Ruijter,