this is a link to my instagram diary of me living with physarum polycephalum: [[1]]


Physarum Polycephalum aka The Blob

This slime mold exists for a very long is definitely much older than mankind. There are estimates that it is existing about 500 millions of years. And not to forget. This is a unicellular. A unicellular with an immense amount of cell nuclei. But it is only one cell. It does not need more and it survived….years and years and years.

So I guess there is a lot to learn from it about life. But before I can start to ask questions, I first need to get to know its lifecycle and its living conditions. So I have to somehow cultivate it first and for that I must understand what it needs in terms of food and environment. For sure a cultivated PP is behaving differently than in nature and also I am just observing one phase of the life-cycle of PP. the phase before Sporangia. Sporangia is the phase when it builds spores… a form of reproduction…..after that it will go into a long time of recovery, and as I am observing it only for a little time now, the phase before sporangia is definitely complex enough to look at closely.

There are so many super interesting facts about it which I could also observe within the last month. For example it is super regenerative. If you would smash it completely it will restore itself after a very short time. And it is always hungry and curiously exploring its environment. When two blobs meet they unite and when you separate one blob the two halfs can live independent from each other. So blob is questioning for sure human constructs of mathematics. One plus one is one. And one cut in half is two.

And that is not the most exciting thing about this. For example the phenomena was observed by scientists, that they can exchange experiences. For example blob does not like salt, but it can get used to it and so when two blobs meet and one of them got used to salt, the whole blob then knows about this. So blob remembers. It is one cell which can save data…. This reminds me of muscle memories…. Some weeks ago…..actually at the same time when I started the coexistence with PP I began to skate again….i started skateboarding when I was 15 but stopped it after some time. Now, 14 years later I observe, that at the one hand my muscles remember how to deal with the board from before, but also and this is much more interesting, that before I actually can theoretically understand what my legs are doing the muscles remember first. And by practicing the actual bodily procedure the theory of the movement forms in my mind contemporaneous. I learn how a certain trick feels and I get an idea of how it looks like. So the cells of my muscle are serving as a form of data storage.

I try to see the relationship between me and the blob and I am trying to compare blob’s behavior and needs, its way of life to my own life experiences. There are certainly parallels in my organism and PPs organism and there are structures and behaviors, which resemble.