2013 | | Experimental

Physarum Polycephalum

  • English 2 mins
  • Director | Anna Sagatov
  • Writer |
  • Producer |

This film is currently not available.   

The slime mold Physarum polycephalum creates beautiful, dendritic fractal patterns, and shows signs of primitive intelligence. Over the past term, I have been working with Mark Lessard of the Jackson Lab's Imaging Department to capture microscopic images and video that showcase the beauty and intelligence of this incredible organism. It solves mazes, maps out roadways, finds the shortest route between two points, regulates its diet, and demonstrates the capacity for memory; all without any kind of nervous system. So how is a slime mold capable of these feats without any directive force? One might ask the same question about a colony of leaderless ants building a nest humans consider to be architecturally sophisticated, or a large school of fish that swims together in the same direction and then changes direction at the exact same moment, in a syncretic motion to evade predators. Emergence is the study of how a number of simple individual entities operate in an environment, forming sophisticated, complex behaviors as a collective. I hope to make this phenomenon visible through the creation of beautiful images that capture the impressive capabilities of the slime mold. My exhibition features living slime mold paintings, time-lapse video of slime mold growth, a terrarium exhibiting the slime mold in its natural habitat, and a microscope to see the slime mold moving in real time.

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