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, to others that play crucial roles for our existence. Other-Mother tries to rehabilitate a bond to those that were at the very beginning of life. A microbial Renaissance.


Bacteria merged to create human cells. They are our ancestral mothers. They are what we grew from. They date back almost 4 billion years, while we, homo sapiens, emerged only yesterday on earth’s scale, about 300.000 years ago. They know this planet. They know how to adapt, how to survive and co-exist. Some of those ancient microbes still guide us today. They are on and in and around us.



Maaijke Middelbeek, Interspecies Care, Other-Mother, Postanthropecene, Posthumanist, SCOBY





Mother SCOBY, Baby SCOBY 

Self-Portrait with Symbiotic Cultures Of Bacteria & Yeast

(photoprint 78 x 100 cm)



Rebirth with SCOBY

In the process of fermentation SCOBY (Symbiotic Cultures Of Bacteria & Yeast) grow a tissue and organ on top of Kombucha tea that works much like our skin and the placenta, as a natural defence to protect microbes in the fluid. If it gets damaged or removed the symbionts will immediately repair or create a new cover. The new hull only grows from a mother culture and is therefore also called Baby SCOBY. SCOBYs are inspiring self-sustaining care communities, microscopic organisms living together in complex, mutually beneficial cultures, depending on one another, contributing to each other’s joy and growth. 

There's something growing,

outside and inside of me,  

It seems to go through the process of building organs


Ancient, otherworldly,

an old knowledgeable creature

very different




Strangely familiar 

We know each other 

I am kin to it.






































Umbilical Cord


from SCOBY cellulose

Symbiotic Cultures Of Bacteria & Yeast



Maaijke Middelbeek, Other-Mother, SCOBY, interspecies care, post anthropocene


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 seems to be capable of healing, of






Maaijke Middelbeek, SCOBY, Other-Mother, Interspecies Care, Microbial Renaissance


Microbial Renaissance

The Placenta


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 our world

beginning of life


Photoprint with afterbirth & umbilical cord from SCOBY cellulose (Symbiotic Cultures Of Bacteria & Yeast)

petri-dish growing symbiotic microbial cultures

(50 x 65 cm)