Spore Initiative facilitates cultural projects at the intersection of climate justice, ecological regeneration, and education, in dialogue with earth protectors in the Global South and the Global North. The Spore House in Berlin is a platform for exchange, dialogue, and mutual learning. At the core of our work is the weaving of dialogues and the nurturing of common grounds that exist between communities, organizations, and people who may be geographically or culturally far from one another but are linked through practices of care for the earth.
Spore began its journey in Yucatán, pivoted around extended conversations with people such as Pedro Uc Be and initiatives such as Escuela de Agricultura Ecológica U Yits Ka’an and the collective Suumil Móokt’an about the defense of the territory, milpa agriculture, the solar maya, Melipona beekeeping, traditional medicine, and other practices of interspecies care. Some of these dialogues led to the coproduction of bilingual (Spanish and Yucatec Maya), everyday cultural tools. These were created together through prolonged processes and collective workshop methods, which saw the engagement of different age groups and a variety of practitioners such as nutritionists, farmers, beekeepers, illustrators, poets, biologists, archeologists, translators, craftsmen, community radio hosts, and filmmakers. Tools have so far included a board game with a twist, an illustrated book, an animation film, communal spaces, several workshops involving multiple generations, an audio play series, poster campaigns, educational leaflets, among others. These dialogues and coproductions are ongoing and woven into a growing web of partnerships that guide Spore’s philanthropic endeavors towards nurturing cultures of care elsewhere, as well as the programming in Berlin.
Spore’s presence in Berlin will manifest in a multifunctional building designed by AFF Architekten that includes a library, a studio space, a guest house, exhibition spaces, an auditorium, several spaces for workshops, and a café. Additionally, Spore has initiated the cultivation of a learning garden in the yard.
Programs in Berlin emerge out of the dialogues with our partners, sometimes directly and sometimes via connections between many different practices and localities. Formats will be multilingual and include various hands-on experiences like nurturing the life of soils and companionship planting, cooking sessions around seasons, writing on clay, harvest schools, long-term working groups, as well as talks, exhibitions, performances, screenings, readings, and debates. Contributors and collaborators will include food producers, gardeners, cooks, healers, cultural practitioners, illustrators, craftsmen, scientists, pedagogues, beekeepers, and storytellers. From children to seniors, we hope that those taking part in Spore’s programs will come together as active contributors who carry different knowledges and share respect, as well as a sense of responsibility and reciprocity, towards the web of life.
Berlin, August 2023
A spore is an extremely small, often single and occasionally multicelled, reproductive body capable of doing many fascinating things. Under adverse circumstances, a spore is able to remain dormant for substantial periods of time, reanimating itself for dispersion and germination when conditions are right. It is capable of reproduction without sexual fusion and mobilizes its ability to develop into a new organism in order to support and diversify ecosystems. So tiny that it is invisible to the human eye, the microscopic spore carries the potential to blossom into infinite forms of life.
Indigenous Peoples represent only 6% of the world population yet take care of 80% of the world’s biodiversity. They are defenders of land and food sovereignty; guardians of the forests, rivers, and soil; seed keepers and water protectors; caretakers of knowledges, cosmologies, and regenerative ways of coexisting. Spore collaborates with communities, initiatives, organizations, and individuals pursuing diverse modes of self-governance by nurturing principles of reciprocity, healing, and solidarity. Spore will work alongside communities and people who fight against the transnational violence of ecological depredation led by corporate interests and enforced by state policies. Spore will work alongside communities and people who, in these and many other ways, contribute to cultures of respect for nature and all life that flows on this planet.
Spore is a cultural initiative that engages with practices, ideas, spiritualities, and dynamics of belonging, which guide and determine the way we relate to the biosphere and all life and matter within it. Acknowledging that creativity and imagination rooted in daily practices have a pivotal role in cultural regeneration, environmental justice, and social transformation, Spore acts as a facilitator for diverse modes of cultural exchange between different communities and organizations, establishing and expanding existing links among people who may be far away from one another, but share values and experiences intertwined in their lived cultures. Spore will follow through with what has already been initiated by others. Everything to come has already begun.
Spore is an attempt at sustained listening to those who collectively care for the earth as part of their everyday lives. It strives to closely follow, with humility and respect, the intergenerational stories, conversations, and exchanges that hold together and nurture the communities and collaborators it works with. For Spore, attentive listening is action. It is a commitment to staying with and following through on the visions, dreams, and journeys of the people it works alongside. It means being open to the complex weavings and intrinsically unforeseen turns of collective life practices.