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The 'zoöp' project is inspired by a range of recent international developments. New Zealand has provided a number of sites with legal personhood: Te Urewera national park, Whanganui river and Mount Taranaki. In February 2019. This inspired Lake Erie in the US to also be granted a form of legal personhood. In other examples, legal work has focused on granting certain rights that belong to natural personhood to developed mammals such as orangutans, whales and dolphins. The Embassy of the North Sea is developing a model for the political representation of non-humans. The common intention of all these legal innovations is to improve the opportunities to protect (large) collective non-human bodies against pollution or other forms of anthropogenic harm.

The Terra0 project and the Regen Network are alternative ways to form alliances between biological networks and technological systems in order to lend collective bodies of non-humans economic agency. In Estonia work is being carried out to establish a kind of legal personhood – nicknamed kratt-law - for AI systems. This is mostly a framework to work out accountability. On Malta laws have been passed that grant certain civil liberties to AIs and DAOs. Aspects of these cases can function as examples for good or bad practices in the discussion in this workshop, in which participants will work out the legal structure of the zoöp format.

This workshop is the first in a series of four workshops that take place during the Neuhaus project. Neuhaus’ Zoöp Research Facility is a facility for public, practical research into alternative forms of living together, working together and generating ecological capital. The name of this new form of organisation links the legal model of cooperation (or co-op) with the Ancient Greek word ζωή (zoo), which means ‘life’. The zoöp contributes to a stronger social, legal and economic position for non-humans within society, as well as making it possible to work towards a model of reciprocal ecological-economic growth that is able to resist the exhausting dynamics of capitalism. During the Neuhaus period, in the ponds around Het Nieuwe Instituut and in The New Garden, information and experiences will be gained which will then be used in the foundation of a pilot zoöp at Fort Abcoude in September. 

See the full report of this session.

Terraforming Earth Lab

Het Nieuwe Instituut has already been researching these issues in various events. For more information see for example the report of the first Terraforming Earth Lab: Constitution of a 21st Century Society.

10:00 – 17:00

Ecologies 1,  Neuhaus
Het Nieuwe Instituut
Museumpark 25
3015 CB Rotterdam