My WdKA

Living Station

Week 26
  • Living Station Inspiration

Heather Barnett – What humans can learn from semi-intelligent slime

 

Heather Barnett creates art with slime mold — a material used in diverse areas of scientific research, including biological computing, robotics and structural design. Inspired by biological design and self-organizing systems, artist Heather Barnett co-creates with physarum polycephalum, a eukaryotic microorganism that lives in cool, moist areas. What can people learn from the semi-intelligent slime mold? Watch this talk to find out.

Why you should listen

Heather Barnett creates fascinating biodesigns with the semi-intelligent slime mold. While it has no brain nor central nervous system, the single celled organism, Physarum polycephalum, shows a primitive form of memory, problem-solving skills and the apparent ability to make decisions. It is used as a model organism in diverse areas of scientific research, including biological computing, robotics and structural design. “It is also quite beautiful,” says Barnett, “and makes therefore for a great creative collaborator. Although ultimately I cannot control the final outcome, it is a rather independent organism.“