WHO AM I?
This question will probably be part of this entire project. I will try to always reflect it for the duration of it, since it is part of the relation between me and physarum. I never really had a strong connection to biology or interest in in non-human lifeforms until I started to realize, that there exists a world of sophisticated balance and perfection beyond our human perception, not visible to our plain view. My background consists of sound and music, as well as a big interest in connections and interfaces between humans and technology. Maybe, this second aspect will help me connecting to physarum.
It is quite a little wonder, physarum polycefallum. I am not really interested in its behavior in a scientific sense, since I cannot distribute any meaningful content to contemporary discussions on the organism. I am simply no biologist. My strength has always been rather the reflection of myself aswell as the interpretation of different belief systems in different environments, I guess. Yet, I am trying to adapt biological methods & considerations since it is necessary for the interactions between me and physarum. Physarum is an organism that revokes our human understanding of intelligence, but we still interpret it as such behavior. There, for me lies the first and maybe most important question regarding my own role in this project: what am I projecting on this organism? What belief system am I trapped in?
I will try to capture the scientific methods I am applying to experiment with the procedures of maintaining physarum alive by photographies and thoughts on the process. But the main purpose of this continuous update should be questions and, maybe, answers regarding my relation to physarum.
Here I am collecting questions and impressions:
What is hierarchy? And how is it established? How did we, humans establish it?
Where is the place for humans in biodiversity // food chain // symbiosis?
Why do we assign human intelligence to any other behavior?
Can we even imagine non-human intelligence?
How should we treat microbiological life?
Could I develop an environment where PP can make its own decisions or be free of my choices?
What could its perception of time look like? Is there maybe an interesting perspective hidden?
What makes it so successful in an evolutionary sense? Will it outlive me?
How has my iconography of individuality changed by the characteristics of PP? What would individuality mean to PP?'
Week 1-4: So far, my biggest problem has been the development of spores & mold. Therefore, I try to maintain a rhythm of subculturing every three days by taking a small sample of PP and ‘planting’ it onto a new petri dish.
The cooking of the medium has gone well so far. I realized that a thicker basis of gelatin medium will lead to a faster growing of the organism, since it is better hydrated. I made a little experiment with food coloring the medium which had no detectable impact on PP. Additionally I feed it daily with a moderate amount of oat (about 1g for the ∅ 60mm & about 3g for the ∅ 150mm dishes on the first day, increasing it at 50% every following day).
I keep it in a drawer away from any daylight, since I want to maintain a certrain state of PP’s life cylcle.
I figured out, that I am not really interested in any popular experiments like letting PP solving a ‘maze’. It arouses the semblance of a circus performance or letting it perform a stunt, but I feel that PP is not responsible for my entertainment. I do not want to criticize such experiments in general, but it rather has a significance for biological research than my artistic approach. So far, I try to keep it in the state in which it is best to work with until I figure out a hint of a concept.