Slime mold network
The slime mold network is silk materials printed through different species of slime mold and 3 different color palettes ranging from pink, blue, & green. The species of slime mold were sourced from the United States, Philippines, and Germany which were then home cultured and grown in a room temperature space. The experiments lead to aesthetically utilising the intricacy of slime mold growth on a visual textile space. Using silk materials as a base for slime mold to grow on allowed the slime mold to leave its own imprint on the textile. The slime mold is used as a printing agent allowing a new generation of textiles for the future of biodesign.
A 6 month research and design project started off as a few experiments through 6mm petri dishes. The slime mold was fed and grown in diverse mediums from food, colours, and 3D spaces such as inside a bio yarn. Out of a total of 35 experiments, the most intriguing was able to manipulate the color of slime mold through color dyes. The slime mold is attracted to a particular set of primary colours which is then absorbed into their network system as they move around for more food. Slime mold species is best known for adapting into almost any environment for survival. When presented with a different color system, slime mold is able to send a chemical stimuli through their “body” that allows them to communicate in order to manipulate into their environment. They are the micro level version of a chameleon!
Identifying the colours of red, blue, and green allowed the designer to create a different designed palette for the slime mold to absorb into and create different network systems. The slime mold grows within 3-5 days and fully formed intricately for design aesthetic. The designer chose silk fabric as it is a natural selection for biological organisms to easily work on. Others such as wool, cotton, hemp, etc. are also great choices when needed to choose natural materials for experimentation. The chosen silk fabric was transparent and was permeable to slime mold allowing it to easily form its network through the material. Hard surfaces or materials such as cotton or hemp wouldn’t have been a good choice due to slime mold needing both sugar and carbs as a base for it to grow underneath the material.
Working with biological organisms instead of against it, allows the researcher or designers to build a special relationship with the living organism. It becomes almost like a pet. This way of working within the biodesign industry is a pioneering method for our future designers. Listen to the living organisms and watch what they can do!
Text submitted by the maker
Slime mold, silk, agar plates