The Slime Mould Collective

An international network of/for intelligent organisms

Hi all,

Ian is about to send me my first batch of slime mould, excited to get my hands mouldy! Thought I'd share what I'm up to and hopefully you can give me some advice/let me know if you think I will run into difficulties.

The plan is to have the physarum plot me the fastest route to get around my university or through a public space without being identified by CCTV. I have a list of every CCTV camera at my university and a map which denotes where cameras are positioned and their field of vision. On the map I plan to place the slime mould at one side and then an oat flak at the goal. I will plot obstructions and the CCTV cameras field of view with salt and then hopefully the mould will sho wme the fastest method of getting from A to B without detection. Is this feasable?

This project has a much broader philosophical enquiry which addresses the power of social and political resistance that exists in flux in contrast to the more binary notions of neoliberal individualism. I actually came across slime mould reading a book by Manuel De Landa called 'Intensive science and virtual philosophy' in which he uses slime mould to describe Deleuze's theory of multiplicity. The CCTV experiment is going to be one of many to help make my theoretical work a bit more interesting and tangible.

Do you have any wise words to help make my project a sucess?

Thanks! :)


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You might do well with a fairly dense agar for your substrate - salt diffuses quickly.  I've been using 4% which we used in the lab for salt experiments with roots.  It's quite tough and rubbery but physarum grows fine on it

That's some great advice thanks. I'm completely new to biology so need every bit of help I can get. I'm thinking that to map out an area I might have to use quite a large spread of agar - do you just use a basic agar recipe mix and add less water? I don't have a lab setup so is this possible to do in my kitchen or will the plates become contaminated?

You should be using a non nutrient ie. plain agar so sterility isn't an issue - very few things will grow on it.  I use 4g agar powder per 100ml of water and microwave it to boil - use a large container if you do this as it foams a lot and watch out for flash boiling when you take it out - I've seen some nasty scalds from the stuff.  

that sounds pretty cool. If you don't want  to use salt, crayon wax can be used as a substitute. Its a overall good idea. Think of a huge slime mold trying to sneak around in a university

I somehow missed this when you posted. Great idea. I love the use of slime mould as a social metaphor. 

Have you managed to do this? If so, let us know how you got on... :)


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