An international network of/for intelligent organisms
I'm trying to grow slime moulds linking up letters in a disc of paper, as in the pics. I want to make sclerotia that are yellow and potentially could be rehydrated.
I've experimented doing it with and without agar underneath, with different-sized discs, different-sized oats and now quinoa, but I'm struggling to get a live yellow slime network to persist until the whole disc has been colonised and networked. It seems that with these distances they prefer to eat one oat and then move on, and by the time they cover the whole disc the network around the first one has already turned white.
Any suggestions? I'm thinking of the Tokyo railway experiment and how the slime spread quickly and more or less evenly in all directions over a 17cm space. The petri dishes in the pics are much smaller, 8cm.
I could put colonised oats on the two most distant letters i suppose, but still the distance seems quite far...
I did a bit of work with these guys on paper before, here are my tips:
Grow up the culture until it is large and robust before you introduce to your artwork -the best time to collect it is when it is rampaging around, looking to escape whatever container you have it in.
Then allow a larger amount to colonise each oatflake before you introduce it to your work. I found it works best when the plasmodium is big enough to munch through an oatflake fairly quickly and then be ready to move on.
I would wait until you see signs of the plasmodium leaving each flake before placing the others.
I used several layers of kitchen roll under my paper to get more control of the ambience.
You could try different kinds of paper
Maybe think about going bigger with the paper?
If you want sclerotia, you need to remove the food and dry the paper out.
Maybe consider some kind of tiny dish for the oatflakes which you can remove after foraging so the paper isn't covered in partially digested dinner
Maybe consider growing the plasmodium into a rampant foraging state, then placing them and your text in a larger container so that the plasmodium could move onto the paper (without any food)