m (Technical description)
m (Concept)
 
(58 intermediate revisions by 3 users not shown)
Line 1: Line 1:
  
== Idea ==
 
I plan for my interaction with Physarum polychefalum to manifest in a sculptural habitat that connects the organism's natural habitat - the woods - with the life it has been habituated to lead in sterilised, monitored and controlled human captivity. To this end, I am visually comparing the structure of tree trunks and/or branches to the human body in a 'shape/form-studie'. The sculpture should invoke a corporeal impression: In this context the human body will represent an analogy for the human-centred ontological terminology commonly used in both the media and scientific representation and study around the unicellular organism. Terminology like 'intelligence', 'memory', 'social behaviour', which we are quickly invited to use in our understanding of this other organism. I want to question such human-centred categorisation and how this (subconsciously) shapes our encounters with such species. 
 
  
To develop this sculpture I will follow two guiding questions:
+
== Concept ==
  
How can I shape the parameters and variables of the habitat to realise my vision, while tending to the 'needs' of a living organism? (Needs: moisture - Agar; micro-organisms - Oatflakes) (Parameters: Light, temperature, humidity, aerosole, bacteria, altitude, etc.)
+
The ‘Body Habitat’ project, as a media-artistic-scientific examination of non-human forms of life, explores and translates the artistic work with a vital organism and its habitat into a living sculpture.
I.e. Which parameters need to be closer to a lab context vs. which should more closely resemble the natural environment to ensure the vital (yellow, branching out) appearance?
 
 
 
How does my human influence manifest on a controlled, repeatable visual level? i.e. can I control the look (structure, color, movement)?
 
  
<gallery>
+
The organic starting point of the project is the genus of the slime mold (Mycetozoa), specifically: Physarum polycephalum.
File:Body Habitat Sketch_1.jpg
 
File:Body Habitat Sketch_2.jpg
 
</gallery>
 
  
== Technical description ==
+
== Hybrid Habitat - living sculpture ==
  
When looking at the tree-habitat of PP the three main variables: moisture, 'food' and space appear invisible to our view. In the petri-dish, these variables are the most visible and limiting. So much so that they obstruct the visibility of the natural structure, colour and movement of the organism. I want to close the distance between these different conditions and open up a third environment: My sculpture will represent a meeting point between the natural and 'human-controlled' habitat. As such I will habituate PP from the Lab-context back towards more natural conditions in a process of adapting the 'living conditions/variables' between the varying degrees of synthetic to natural.  
+
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.  
  
The parameters to be defined and controlled:
+
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.
  
(1) Moisture - Agar
+
[[File:Bodyhabitat_02.jpg|400px]] [[File:Bodyhabitat_01.jpg|400px]]
  
The Biolab standard is a 100ml distilled water x 2g Agar solution.  
+
== Relevance ==
 +
 +
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 natural condition is moist tree trunks and soil (moisture naked to the human eye).
+
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.
  
Approach (1) Provide moisture by simulating rain and spraying the organism with (distilled) water.
+
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 situation?
Approach (2) Create Agar/moisture 'pods' to show PP (at least partially) unobstructed. Akin to the idea of a watering hole in the desert: PP could draw its moisture from one spot from which it would branch out further possibly connecting these different 'moisture pods'. 
 
  
(2) 'Food' - microorganisms, bacteria, fungi, yeast - oatflakes
+
<gallery>
 +
File:Body Habitat Sketch_1.jpg
 +
File:Body Habitat Sketch_2.jpg
 +
File:branchansicht2.jpg
 +
</gallery>
  
The Biolab standard are oatflakes, from which the slime mold 'eats' only the bacteria on the flakes.
+
== Technical approach ==
  
The natural condition are bacteria, yeasts, and fungi found on deciduous tree logs/wood drawn from the ground surface.
+
What happens in the area of tension between laboratory and nature?
  
Approach (1) Investigate the question: How long can you live without me? by retreating the human influence and no longer 'feeding' it. Simultaneously, accepting that by releasing this control over the life cycle the slime mold might develop to spores or dry out, hence the artist looses control over the appearance. 
 
  
Approach (2) Subsidies the oatflakes to something actually found in nature and supply this 'food' over the ground surface i.e. Agar base. I.e. develop an Agar mix that is both providing the essential 'food' source while not obstructing the visual appearance.
+
== Research questions ==
  
It is important to note that all decisions on technical parameter are made primarily on a visual aesthetics basis. This means that my aim is to create the most unobstructed presentation of the slime mold as possible within my sculptural vision.  
+
(1)
 +
Which parameters need to be closer to a lab context vs. which can more closely resemble the natural environment to tend to the ,needs’ of the living organism while realising the sculptural vision?
 +
(2)
 +
How does my human influence manifest on a controlled, repeatable visual level? i.e. Can I control the look (structure, color, movement)?
  
(3) Space + Surface
+
( [[/Living in captivity picture dairy/]] )
  
When looking at the tree-habitat the first thing that strikes me is the surface. The surface is an obstacle course over which the organism sustains its life. This vital parameter is all but omitted in the lab context, where is sterilised, small and made conform for  scientific observation. This parameter - Space + Surface - is the core of my work. 
+
== Quasi-scientific, technical process ==
  
Approach (1) Source/collect tree trunks that have a visual semblance to the human body. Develop this found artefact further into a sculptural object through casting techniques (possibly with wax). In a second step: test PP's survival capacities on sculptural surface.
+
Parameters and design experiments
 +
All parameters that influence the slime mold‘s ability to sustain the plasmodial stage of growth (the needs) are pinpointed, controlled and adjusted between the natural habitat and the lab context in order to habituate the unicellular organism out of the petri-dish into a hybrid situation (the sculpture), inspired by the natural condition.  
 +
The main parameters discovered and reconfigured in individual design experiments are:
  
In parallel: Approach (1.1) Condition PP to live in a larger space (67x37x25 glass box), lifting the restrictive spatial boundaries and allowing for more natural movement patterns to emerge.
 
  
 +
(1) Moisture
 +
* Simulating rain
 +
* Moisture pods
  
(4) Additional parameter through human interaction: Care
 
  
The method of inoculation can influence the appearance of Physarum polychefalum:
+
(2) ‘Food’source
 +
* Retreating food/oat flakes
 +
* No food at all /oat flakes
 +
* Other food sources/Foreign matter
 +
* Bacterial transfer
  
Approach (1) Inoculate 'fresh' PP with a chunk of the oat flakes.
 
  
Approach (2) Inoculate 'fresh' PP by scraping from the top of Physarum growing on oats.
+
(3) Space
 +
* Open space
 +
* On wax
 +
* Open airflow
  
Approach (3) Inoculate 'medium fresh' PP by scraping the veins that are reaching towards the outer walls of the petri dish
 
  
Approach (4) Inoculate 'old' PP by using the orange-y parts that have grown out of the dish.
+
(4) temperature and light
 +
* Observation (1)
 +
* Light exposures
  
Via recreating the same conditions several times and continued observation of these different methods of inoculation my understanding and control over the possible visual structures and colourations of the organism grows.
 
  
This investigates the question to which degree my human influence can manifest on a repeatable visual level within the petri-dish environment. In a second step the control over the appearance will need to be transplanted to the sculpture.
+
(5) Care (Inoculation methods)
  
== Reflections and thoughts weeks 1 - 4 ==
+
* Slime mold with oat flakes
 +
* Fresh slime mold
 +
* Medium fresh slime mould
 +
* Old slime mould
 +
* Transfer directly onto wax
 +
* Voluntary transfer
  
I have been documenting in the form of photographs a lot, simply because the organism is constantly evolving so that if not captured the moment will have passed. (As initially everything was new I was taking photographs of all dishes. I have since gone over to only documenting special structures, or bacterial infections or other unusual features.)
 
  
At the same time my point of view was never entirely free as I entered this project with (1) already an interest for (especially) the dynamic, mind-of-it's-own quality of a growing organism (also relates to Fungi) - meaning a special interest in structural/visual appearance and time/movement/growth and (2) the ambition to create a 'sculptural moment' i.e. a special interest in forms for the organism to grow on.
+
For detailed explanations of parameters, individual design experiments, conduct and outcomes please look into the pdf documentation (excerpt from the reader/book):
  
I am starting to realise that this might result in the approach that I want to create first a setting/environment/habitat( i.e. sculpture) and then let the organism live, grow, decay on it's own accord. So, creating an interactive setting and then re-treating the human influence. This would include a process of first understanding both the organism's natural (the woods) and man-made (the petri dish) habitat to then create a hospitable setting which will allow the organism to thrive and live autonomously (as it should/could).
+
[[:File:Designexperiments_.pdf]]
  
 +
== Sculptural aesthetics ==
  
[[File:Physarum01.png|400px]]
+
The imperative was to begin as close to the natural habitat of the slime mold as possible. In a first step, I went into the woods to inspect and collect tree branches and trunks from the forest floor.
 +
The tree, in the end, serves as a figurative meeting point between the natural habitat and the human interaction, influence and perspective onto the organism. A foreign yet fami- liar form, which itself has life pulsing and oscillating through its vein-like network. In this visual construct the man-made state of captivity in a lab is represented by ‘the body’ and the untouched natural habitat is represented by ‘the tree’.
 +
The time spent observing in the woods resulted in a study of shape and form similarities between human and tree. From these observations evolved the search for specific traits on tree trunks or branches that connect both the human and non-human. Direct visual similarities to the human body include features like creases, folds, scars, structures of muscle or bone, stretch marks ... a collarbone.. an elbow. 
 +
In a further step to bring forth the body-like characteristics of these wooden features, the shape of the selected branch was taken by a silicone mould. From this mould a second branch was cast from hard wax in a faint skin-tone colour.  
  
[[File:Physarum02.png|400px]]
+
This second wax branch, an impression taken directly from nature, becomes something between tree branch and severed (corporal)limb. An oversized elbow with stretch marks that hint at muscular veins just below the surface. Stretch marks as a signifier of both human and non-human life and growth. Scars and cuts on the outer most protective layer that hint at vulnerability underneath. A new terrain for the vein like slime mold to live on: 86cm in length with a radius of 3cm.
 +
An interplay of surface, texture, colour, structure and patterns emerges.  
 +
Can Physarum polychefalum survive, live and grow on this altered habitat? Or will it quickly retreat, reproduce or hibernate?
  
[[File:Physarum03.png|400px]]
+
<gallery>
 +
File:Earlysketch01.jpg
 +
File:Earlysketch02.jpg
 +
</gallery>
  
[[File:Physarum04.png|400px]]
+
<gallery>
 +
File:Processsketch_01.jpeg
 +
File:Processsketch_02.jpg
 +
File:Processsketch_03.jpeg
 +
File:Processsketch_04.jpeg
 +
File:Processsketch_0.5.jpeg
 +
</gallery>
  
Sun. 31.05
 
Starting to notice this white-ish slime. First I thought it was mold but now I think it is the trace that Physarum leaves behind itself - which if it has enough space hinders it from going to this spot again. Might be having a strange reaction with the Agar?
 
  
[[File:Physarum05.png|400px]]
+
== Design of final sculpture ==
 +
  
[[File:Physarum06.png|400px]]
+
The wax branch will be suspended from a metal-backdrop inside a plexiglas box with 8 small holes at top and bottom for oxygen to flow.  
  
Sun. 31.05
+
<gallery>
Seeing an answer to the question: does physarum grow on surfaces that are not Agar: yes!
+
File:Final_construction.jpeg
Does it maybe draw the moisture from the surface of agar so that it doesn't need it in other/all areas? 
+
</gallery>
  
Also you can start to see the digested oats that are no longer yellow so the blob moved off of them because they offer no more for it.
+
The initial transfer of the slime mold onto the wax branch will take place as an 'Incubation-phase': a lab standard Agar base (100cmx40cm) with oat flakes is provided to the slime mold.  
  
[[File:Physarum07.png|400px]]
+
<gallery>
 +
File:Finalsculpture_incubator.jpeg
 +
</gallery>
  
Sat. 30.05 - decided to 'feed' some less to start seeing a difference in behaviour
+
Once the organism has reached a substantial size the wax branch is added for a 'voluntary transfer' (*see design experiments)  to take place. For (aesthetic) presentation and preservation purposes the branch is transitioned onto the wall - away from the Agar and oat flakes that grow additional bacteria and molds - suspended instead in a sleek, plexi and metal presentation format.
  
Sun. 31.05 - because I don't want to much moisture to build up (might lead to bacterial mold) and to keep caring well for the Physarum & first get a better understanding of it, I gave each dish a full spoon of oats today.
+
<gallery>
 
+
File:Finalsculpture sketch .jpeg
[[File:Physarum08.png|400px]]
+
</gallery>
 
 
[[File:Physarum09.png|400px]]
 
 
 
The Physarum's structure is obviously much better visible when NOT ON OATS - so what are aesthetic and sustainable ways to replace the oats or make the food source disappear?
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum10.png|400px]]
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum11.png]]
 
 
 
Mon. 01.06 - The first petri-dish, probably older than a week now changed colors, it doesn't look like mold but it's clearly much much darker then if was yesterday.
 
Also doesn't look like the other phases of the life cycle?
 
 
 
Mon. 01.06 - Also there is a lot more moisture in the dishes again - maybe today is finally a day to inoculate?
 
Clearly 6 days is the limit - better to change them after 5 days  - like this guide also suggests: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1BYdpvPxnUNgdqqu1ELHTnbWlc0cQqvu6
 
  
 
<gallery>
 
<gallery>
 
+
File:Process images sculpture 02.jpg
File:Physarum12.png
+
File:Process images sculpture 03.jpg
File:Physarum13.png
+
File:Process images sculpture01.jpg
 
+
File:Process images sculpture04.jpg
 +
File:Process images sculpture05.jpg
 +
File:Process images sculpture06.jpg
 
</gallery>
 
</gallery>
  
 +
*process images of sculpture additionally as pdf:  [[:File:Process images sculpture.pdf]]
  
Mon. 01.06 - Here you can see Physarum build a squiggly mass on top of the oats, it's more like a pile of yellow little blobs than the vein like structure. 
+
== ‘Body Habitat - creeping garden’ - the book ==
 
 
[[File:Physarum14.png]]
 
 
 
Mon. 01.06 - Also other dishes are starting to form black dots which I can see more clearly from the bottom - which show bacterial/Yeast contamination and indicate that I should change the dish.
 
Clearly the Physarum wants out, but isen't even healthy enough to make it.
 
 
 
'''A new inoculation follows! '''
 
 
 
What isen't really clear to me is what to do with the old dishes from which I inoculate new ones? Do I let them go their course? Do I try to transfer as much of the blob and then let the leftovers dry?
 
 
 
Answer - Mon. 08.06: I wait until the dish is fully dried out our possibly contaminated to throw away whole dish in worst case or clean out the already dried Physarum. I now have pre-made petri-dishes for when a lot tries to escape. If only a little tries to come out I put it back in the same dish. 
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum15.png]]
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum16.png]]
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum17.png]]
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum18.png]]
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum19.png]]
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum20.png]]
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum21.png]]
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum22.png]]
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum23.png]]
 
 
 
Observational notes
 
 
 
1 large petri dish the agar never settled even though it is the same mix as the others- possible because I moved it too soon disrupting the cooling process?
 
 
 
Also I need to make sure I have a bit more Agar next time as the solution is very wet in general.
 
 
 
The petri-dishes with the discarded oats and Physarum clearly show that Physarum senses no more food and is trying quickly to escape to survive somewhere else.
 
 
 
Also the medium older dishes show me that Physarum has a sense for the environment and tells me very clearly it wants a new home! Even with enough food it wants to move on somewhere with better conditions - within one night it's climbed half way out the lid.
 
The others are quite happy where they are though.
 
 
 
The small dishes - after I removed the excess /old food seem 'happy' - they've reconnected and are staying inside the dish, also no colour change but the structure looks like it might be going towards spores.
 
 
 
I'm getting a sense for how Physarum perceives it's  environment slowly.
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum24.png]]
 
 
 
Day 1 - freshly transplanted
 
 
 
I removed the oats with Physarum from the old dishes and preserved it.
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum25.png]]
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum26.png]]
 
 
 
Day 2 - still strong but also fast moving out of the dish.
 
clear indicator that the leftovers can't just be thrown away as the organism still lives on even when perceived as 'discarded' by me. Even spreading faster than on the new Agar dishes.
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum27.png]]
 
 
 
Day 3 - The structure already looks much weaker and the colour is more faint
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum28.png]]
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum29.png]]
 
 
 
Day 1 - First movements in the big dishes
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum29.1.png|400px]]
 
 
 
All small dishes are starting to look 'healthier' again - strong structure and colouring
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum30.png]]
 
 
 
I had these liquidy membrane looking blob parts - what are they? A weird form from the Agar which was too liquid?
 
Answer: When compared to the freshly inoculated dish: these are the spots of the Physarum placed - it moved from this spot quickly on to the fresh oats and these spots might have had a strange reaction with the still too fresh Agar or brought rests that where no longer good for Physarum and turn into this weird blob.
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum31.png]]
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum32.png]]
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum33.png]]
 
 
 
Here, in both dishes, we can see the dish looks quite dry - in the one on the left the Physarum is crawling out because the environment is not good enough anymore.
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum34.png]]
 
 
 
In comparison the new dishes have a very moist agar (too moist) and are spreading out across the space.
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum35.png]]
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum36.png]]
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum37.png]]
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum38.png]]
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum39.png]]
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum40.png]]
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum41.png]]
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum42.png]]
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum43.png]]
 
 
 
[[File:Physarum44.png]]
 
 
 
  
 +
A comprehensive reader to accompany the living sculpture, containing documentation of working artistically with living matter.
  
specific documentation of Physarum in captivity: https://kjakubek.hotglue.me/?iforganismdocumentation/
+
A collaboration with a unicellular organism.
 +
A hybrid setting for an organism to behave in a desired way.  
  
online Processbook in process: https://kjakubek.hotglue.me/?Iforganism
+
[[:File:Body habitat creeping garden_thereader_Jakubek.pdf]]

Latest revision as of 19:06, 3 November 2020


Concept

The ‘Body Habitat’ project, as a media-artistic-scientific examination of non-human forms of life, explores and translates the artistic work with a vital organism and its habitat into a living sculpture.

The organic starting point of the project is the genus of the slime mold (Mycetozoa), specifically: Physarum polycephalum.

Hybrid Habitat - living sculpture

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.

Bodyhabitat 02.jpg Bodyhabitat 01.jpg

Relevance

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 situation?

Technical approach

What happens in the area of tension between laboratory and nature?


Research questions

(1) Which parameters need to be closer to a lab context vs. which can more closely resemble the natural environment to tend to the ,needs’ of the living organism while realising the sculptural vision? (2) How does my human influence manifest on a controlled, repeatable visual level? i.e. Can I control the look (structure, color, movement)?

( Living in captivity picture dairy )

Quasi-scientific, technical process

Parameters and design experiments All parameters that influence the slime mold‘s ability to sustain the plasmodial stage of growth (the needs) are pinpointed, controlled and adjusted between the natural habitat and the lab context in order to habituate the unicellular organism out of the petri-dish into a hybrid situation (the sculpture), inspired by the natural condition. The main parameters discovered and reconfigured in individual design experiments are:


(1) Moisture

  • Simulating rain
  • Moisture pods


(2) ‘Food’source

  • Retreating food/oat flakes
  • No food at all /oat flakes
  • Other food sources/Foreign matter
  • Bacterial transfer


(3) Space

  • Open space
  • On wax
  • Open airflow


(4) temperature and light

  • Observation (1)
  • Light exposures


(5) Care (Inoculation methods)

  • Slime mold with oat flakes
  • Fresh slime mold
  • Medium fresh slime mould
  • Old slime mould
  • Transfer directly onto wax
  • Voluntary transfer


For detailed explanations of parameters, individual design experiments, conduct and outcomes please look into the pdf documentation (excerpt from the reader/book):

File:Designexperiments_.pdf

Sculptural aesthetics

The imperative was to begin as close to the natural habitat of the slime mold as possible. In a first step, I went into the woods to inspect and collect tree branches and trunks from the forest floor. The tree, in the end, serves as a figurative meeting point between the natural habitat and the human interaction, influence and perspective onto the organism. A foreign yet fami- liar form, which itself has life pulsing and oscillating through its vein-like network. In this visual construct the man-made state of captivity in a lab is represented by ‘the body’ and the untouched natural habitat is represented by ‘the tree’. The time spent observing in the woods resulted in a study of shape and form similarities between human and tree. From these observations evolved the search for specific traits on tree trunks or branches that connect both the human and non-human. Direct visual similarities to the human body include features like creases, folds, scars, structures of muscle or bone, stretch marks ... a collarbone.. an elbow. In a further step to bring forth the body-like characteristics of these wooden features, the shape of the selected branch was taken by a silicone mould. From this mould a second branch was cast from hard wax in a faint skin-tone colour.

This second wax branch, an impression taken directly from nature, becomes something between tree branch and severed (corporal)limb. An oversized elbow with stretch marks that hint at muscular veins just below the surface. Stretch marks as a signifier of both human and non-human life and growth. Scars and cuts on the outer most protective layer that hint at vulnerability underneath. A new terrain for the vein like slime mold to live on: 86cm in length with a radius of 3cm. An interplay of surface, texture, colour, structure and patterns emerges. Can Physarum polychefalum survive, live and grow on this altered habitat? Or will it quickly retreat, reproduce or hibernate?


Design of final sculpture

The wax branch will be suspended from a metal-backdrop inside a plexiglas box with 8 small holes at top and bottom for oxygen to flow.

The initial transfer of the slime mold onto the wax branch will take place as an 'Incubation-phase': a lab standard Agar base (100cmx40cm) with oat flakes is provided to the slime mold.

Once the organism has reached a substantial size the wax branch is added for a 'voluntary transfer' (*see design experiments) to take place. For (aesthetic) presentation and preservation purposes the branch is transitioned onto the wall - away from the Agar and oat flakes that grow additional bacteria and molds - suspended instead in a sleek, plexi and metal presentation format.

‘Body Habitat - creeping garden’ - the book

A comprehensive reader to accompany the living sculpture, containing documentation of working artistically with living matter.

A collaboration with a unicellular organism. A hybrid setting for an organism to behave in a desired way.

File:Body habitat creeping garden_thereader_Jakubek.pdf