“How do we listen to the more-than-human voice?

What if there is not one voice, but many different ones?

How can we listen to all life in artistic ways?

How can we implement our findings in the way our organisation works?”

– Rabiaâ Benlahbib, Director of Kunstfort Vijfhuizen (excerpt from Zoöp inauguration speech)

As of November 2023, Kunstfort is officially a Zoöp.

What is a Zoöp?

Zoöp is a term short for Zoöperation: cooperation with zoë, Greek for ‘life’. It is an organisation model for cooperation between human and other-than-human life that safeguards the interests of all life. The model makes the interests of other-than-human life part of organisational decision-making, by installing a so-called Speaker for the Living as an advisor, teacher, and sparring partner in the organisation. The framework was collectively developed at het Nieuwe Instituut by ecologists, artists, designers, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and philosophers.

By becoming a Zoöp, we at Kunstfort, formally commit to guiding principles of ecological regeneration in our programming and ways of working.

For more information about the Zoöp Model, follow this link.

Click here for the Zoöp manifesto.

Speaker for the Living

“The Speaker for the Living acts as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the other-than-human life in the op­er­a­tional sphere of our or­gan­i­sa­tion. To the best of their abil­i­ties, the Speaker will help to trans­late the in­ter­ests of other-human life to what we do and should not do.”

– excerpt from Zoöp manifesto

Our speaker for the living is Bonnie Chopard.

Bonnie describes herself as “an architect who wants to build as little as possible and a landscape architect who wants to create as much habitat as possible.” How can we move from the anthropocentric to the symbiotic? This question is essential to Bonnie’s ways of seeing the world and the motivation behind her nature-inclusive approach to design and building. She is an advocate for a philosophy of design founded on symbiotic ecological relationships that promote the flourishing of human and other-than-human life.

Over the last few years, she has brought her passion for this philosophy to her work as a landscape, urban planning, and sustainability advisor for the municipalities of Amsterdam and Haarlemmermeer. Since 2019, she runs her architecture studio called inlandschap and is a board member of Stichting Bodemzicht. In these various roles, she has worked on wide-ranging sustainability-focused projects revolving around regenerative farms, the development of nature inclusive residential neighbourhoods, the research for urban foodscapes, and many more.

Drawing from her wealth of experience and insights, we are collectively exploring how to represent the interests of other-than-human life in our decision-making process as an organisation.


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