THE PHYSARUM EXPERIMENTS: Working with an intelligent organism
March 26, 7:30pm - 9:30pm Talk & Workshop
“[In] trying to understand systems that use relatively simple components to build higher-level intelligence, the slime mould may someday be seen as the equivalent of the finches and tortoises that Darwin observed on the Galápagos Islands” (Steven Johnson, Emergence 2001)
Join artist Heather Barnett to discover the fascinating role this single celled organism has to play in the culture of both science and art, and participate in a practical experiment to create the ideal creative environment for it to grow.
Physarum polycephalum is a small yellow microorganism that displays primitive intelligence, problem solving skills and memory. It is used as a model organism in many areas of research including emergence, adaptation and robotics. It also makes for a great creative collaborator: kept dark and damp and fed on a diet of porridge oats, it will grow in beautiful dendritic patterns whilst foraging for food.
This event is part of CUT/PASTE/GROW.
ABOUT HEATHER BARNETT:
Heather Barnett is a visual artist, researcher and educator working with biological systems and scientific processes. With interests ranging across medicine, psychology, perception and visualisation, projects have included microbial portraiture, cellular wallpapers, performing cuttlefish and self-organising installations. She is a National Teaching Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Photographic Arts at the University of Westminster, London, UK, where she is project lead on the Broad Vision art/science research and learning programme. Heather is also Creative Director of the biologically inspired design company, micro-designs. http://www.heatherbarnett.co.uk
When & Where
Genspace is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting culture, innovation and education in molecular biology for both children and adults. We work inside and outside of traditional settings, providing a safe, supportive environment for training and mentoring in biotechnology. In the summer of 2010, we built the first-ever community laboratory, a facility where we design workshops, train students and innovate new technologies. As a membership-based community lab, we offer New Yorkers the opportunity to work on their own projects in a safe, Biosafety level 1 facility.