ZOE is a temporary co-existence between reishi mushrooms and a custom-made robotic system

2 – 5 November 2022

Welcome to Our Guesthouse, Productiehuis Theater Rotterdam



23 JUNE 2023

Media Architecture Bienale Award 




6-10 September 2023

Theme Exhibition: (Co)Owning More than Truth , Ars Electronica Festival 2023



ZOE is a temporary co-existence between the reishi mushrooms and a custom-made robotic system. Noor Stenfert Kroese and Amir Bastani explore with ZOE the possibilities of internal communication between its robotic system and reishi. Within this seeming paradox between nature and technology, an ecosystem occurs that cares for and affects each other through sensing technologies. A tactile space of data visualisations is created around ZOE in which visitors can explore ZOE’s outcome. 


Our future can not be one where technology is in opposition to or destruction of the natural environment. Without claiming that we know what nature wants or needs. Creates ZOE a possibility of unknowns coming together. It continues onto the research of the interaction within fungal mycelia networks. Scientists discovered that fungi transmit information through their network using electrical impulses. To this day, they do not know what this communication entails. It is the curiosity of what happens when we do not assume the outcome or interpret it through thinking but give it space to be with and experience it.


ZOE is inspired by philosopher Rosi Braidotti. Simplified, the suggestion is to replace the idea of life understood as ‘bios’– human life with ‘Zoe’ – all forms of life. Which questions us about repositioning our way of taking part in this world. Instead, from the perspective of us humans being on the outside looking to the rest as if we are not part of it, ‘Zoe’ places everything, including us, in relation with the others as being part of it. For ‘Zoe’ to happen, we must search for a new ‘we’.


What kind of new ‘we’ do we experience when it is not about us. Taking the focus from what is opposed to one another to the relation with the others. ZOE creates around itself a space of sensory data visualisations. Opening up a way to relate to the unknown mushroom communication in ZOE. Visually, auditory and tactile translations of the data flowing out of ZOE’s temporary co-existence are there for the visitor to explore. This is done through data sonification, an livestream, realtime data visualisations and data carpets. The data carpets are created each day from the data of the reishi signals in relation to their environment.



Process of ZOE
28-10-2022 – 05-01-2022



In collaboration with Amir Bastan

Produced by Productiehuis Theater Rotterdam ( ACT : Art, Climate & Transition ) in coproduction with Creative Robotics, KUKA, Fashion and Robotics. and Mushroom Research Center Austria.

With many thanks to Emma Boots, Nynke Joustra,Melih Gençboyaci, Hasan Gök, Hein van Leeuwen, John Thijssen,Peter Leeuwenburg, Axel Dikkers,Johannes Braumann, Manuel Stüttler, Mark Stüttler, Michael Schneider, Johann Wastian, Ars Electronica Center Biolab

Photography Bart Grietens 
Camera Huub Laurens
Montage Noor Stenfert Kroese

ZOE is part of ACT: Art, Climate, Transition, a European cooperation project on ecology, climate change and social transition. In an era of climate breakdown, pandemics, mass extinction and growing inequalities, we join our forces in a project on hope: connecting broad perspectives with specific, localised possibilities, ones that invite or demand that we ACT.