The ‘Body Habitat’ project arises at the intersection of Bioart as a media-artistic-scientific examination of different forms of life and the visual arts/sculpture. The focus is on an interdisciplinary conception between media design, natural science and fine arts, in which processes of Bioart, the work with living organisms and their habitat are translated into a sculpture.
The organic starting point of the project is the genus of the slime mold (Mycetozoa), specifically: Physarum polycephalum.
The hybrid sculptural habitat for a living organism, connects the slime mold‘s natural habitat - the woods - with the life it has been habituated to lead in monitored and controlled human captivity -the petri-dish- . To this end, these two ‚habitats‘ are artistically translated by visually comparing the surface structure of trees to the human body in a 'form- study’. The study of shapes and forms reveals numerous textural similarities directly connecting the two. Followingly, the final sculpture, cast from an actual tree, implies a corporeal impression, in which the human body represents an analogy for the human-centred perception of nature and questions how we encounter other species around us.
In the temporarily living sculpture the slime mold acts as an agent of nature, as it grows, moves and covers the defenceless limb. What appears a body-like member, exposes our vulnerability. It hypothesises how by exceedingly cutting ourselves off from natural forms and personal interactions with other lifeforms we grow exposed and vulnerable in time.
Society is increasingly replacing the relationship to other living beings and forms of life with the digital world. This is precisely why it is important to continually reflect on how we approach our natural resources, the environment, sustainable living and to lead the viewer back to the direct confrontation with nature. To do this, the overall goal of the project is to create a visceral connection between the viewer and a completely different form of life - the slime mold -, who’s habitat and abilities for survival are a central theme in order to emphasise the connection between humans and nature, as the most original source of knowledge and innovation.
The creative work process is characterised by the numerous difficulties in controlling an organism according to the human will. Ultimately, the artwork is self-organising as the slime mold determines the outcome in response to the conditions of the provided habitat. This includes a possible return to a more natural unpredictability and life cycle beyond the vital, plasmodial stage of growth into the development of spores (sporangia), hibernation (dormant sclerotium) or death.
In the end, the question of how living matter relates to the characteristics of form is posed: Will the slime mold Physarum polycephalum behave in a desired way in this new setting?
The exhibited sculpture (currently still in final stages of construction) will be accompanied by a comprehensive reader that illustrates the concept, interaction with the living slime mold (design experiments) and additional considerations on the interspecies interaction with this fascinating, alien organism.