Other-Mother portrays a posthuman birth, a birth out of fermentation, symbiosis
and interspecies care, a motherly relationship to the other-than-human.
The theme of Foto Wien 2022 is Rethinking Nature. In challenging times of a pandemic and climate change we are forced to rethink our relationship to nature. OTHER-MOTHER is a proclamation for a role reversal in our constellation with the other-than-human, with others that play crucial roles for our existence. In troubled times of climate change, mass species extinction and a pandemic our relation to the natural world can no longer stay a passive or naïve one, we can not just stay in the comfortable role of care receivers. OTHER-MOTHER pictures an eco-emancipated act of care-giving and suggests to rehabilitate a bond to those that were at the very beginning of life, pleading for a microbial Renaissance.
During the long history of the earth, microbes (and here I count viruses among them), together with fungi and plants, have been essential, and are still crucial, to the composition of the environment in which we humans live. The pandemic has shown us that we can’t escape the invasive presence of others. They react to our actions, to our changing climate; if they mutate, we have to mutate as well.
Mother SCOBY, Baby SCOBY
Self-Portrait with Symbiotic Cultures Of Bacteria & Yeast
(photoprint 78 x 100 cm)
In the process of fermentation SCOBY (Symbiotic Cultures Of Bacteria & Yeast) grow an organ on top of Kombucha tea that works much like our skin or a placenta. The hull protects the maternal culture and newborns in the fluid, it is an expanding and renewing natural defence. If it gets damaged or removed the symbionts will immediately start to repair or create a new cover. A new tissue layer can only grow from a mother culture and is therefore also called Baby SCOBY.
SCOBY biofilms are inspiring self-sustaining care communities. Microscopic organisms living together in complex systems, bonding in mutually beneficial constructions, depending on one another, contributing to each other’s joy and growth.
There's something growing,
outside and inside of me.
from some time no man knows
from some place no man goes
It seems to go through the process of building organs
Worlds in the making
We know each other
I am kin to it.
from SCOBY cellulose
Symbiotic Cultures Of Bacteria & Yeast
Reclining mother and child
baby SCOBY and placenta from SCOBY cellulose
SCOBY Symbiotic Cultures Of Bacteria & Yeast
(37 x 50cm)
A microbial Renaissance
Regeneration with microbes
It seems to go through the process of building
organs. It is capable of healing,
Placenta (biofilm from Symbiotic Cultures Of Bacteria & Yeast),
amniotic fluid, dish on photo print of the atmosphere
(60 x 60cm)
The Origin of the World
> After Gustav Courbet's L'Origine du Monde, France 1866 <
Bacteria; the origin of the world
Photoprint with afterbirth & umbilical cord from SCOBY cellulose
(Symbiotic Cultures Of Bacteria & Yeast)
petri-dish growing symbiotic microbial cultures
(50 x 65 cm)