Slime Mold :: Update


I thought I would post a quick update on my slime mold project now that the semester is over. It is a project that I want to continue, but it is also one that I need more time to conceptualize and to write up (in poetry form) before seriously executing the visual component.

I think I am attracted to the wordplay between "sublime" and "slime," so I've been reading up on the sublime as a concept (or have been, prior to the always mad rush that is the end of the semester). I also think the weird ways in which slime mold functions--taking on different states, sharing nuclei, growing in systems--can be related to the sublime in various ways. Especially the morphed, weird post-modern iterations of the sublime that can be found in The Sublime (Whitechapel: Documents of Contemporary Art), which I've been using for ideas on things to read related to the subject (in regards to "the subject," pun intended).


I also think I learned a lot from the project we did at the end of the semester--a project that I'm really happy with. I was thinking about doing some time lapse with slime mold, but I wasn't sure how to execute it (I had downloaded some software and so on). So, at some point I threw out the idea to my (awesome) group members that we should maybe try something with time lapse. I really didn't know enough about what was involved and I was playing around with it (with little success). Anyway, we ended up making the "Subterranea Project" and I feel like I learned so much from it--I can't wait to get back to incorporating some of the things I learned into my own work.

At some point my slime mold samples got too contaminated (even the original sets of petri dishes I kept on the side as backups), but I did start doing things like dye both the agar and oats with food coloring before growing the mold...

Here I colored, dried, and ground the oats (to use in text stencils):

photo (1x).JPG

I also colored just colored whole oats:

photo (2x).JPG

[I would post some of the growths from these, but I was vaguely obsessed with learning DIY sterilization at the time, so most of my "infected" attempts did not get photographed... I think I'm going to try ideas that "intentionally infect" in the future so I have to worry about this less]

...I also keep trying new sterilization techniques (I haven't executed some of these yet, but I did manage to pick up a pressure cooker and steam basket to use as a DIY autoclave). Once I have some poetry/text written that gives me ideas in terms of what to include in my mold experiments, I'll order some more mold.

I got the idea to dye the oats from this book (which is awesome):


I also picked up a copy of Jane Blocker's book What the Body Cost (that she presented on earlier this semester, so I suspect this class is infecting my practice in all sorts of ways). I had seen the book before (since I took a class with her), but I had no idea how much it overlapped with some of the stuff in my previous book--which includes a series of "somatic portraits" on petri-dishes. Given that I want to use the Slime Mold "stuff" as an extension of my previous project (and that I want to include more bodily samples, etc), it seemed like an awesome place to get some inspiration. I've been enjoying reading it and thinking about how I can better conceptualize various body parts in relationship to the poetry/visuals that surround them textually within a book project. I was also thinking about the Cell Storm project and how that pulled the micro up into the macro level in an interesting way--which is also something that I'm interested in thinking about (and I think my ideas on it have matured through the work that Kate, Sara, Christy and I did for our project--especially in terms of thinking about how to execute a project related to it).

Anyway, I won't dwell too long. But I'm interested in what other people think they'll pull from the class going forward?

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