Wednesday, 28 December 2011

doing thinking with slime mould

Here's what Prof. Andy Adamatzky has to say about Physarum plasmodium doing thinking:
"Plasmodium’s foraging behaviour can be interpreted as computation, when data are represented by spatial configurations of attractants and repellents, and results by structures of protoplasmic network . Plasmodium satisfactory solves many computational problems with natural parallelism, including shortest path, implementation of storage modification machines, Voronoi diagram, logical computing, process algebra... "
 Read all about it in his nice paper "Slime mould computes planar shapes" here.

Well that's very nice for me that somebody has gone to the trouble of doing sums to prove that the thinking of bodies can indeed be thought of as thinking, that Ms. No-brain, No-symbolic language here is doing the math all over my pictures. Maths even.

More to the point for me is the slime mould's responsiveness to things in general. This is a much more complex adventure for the Physarum than the smooth laboratory agar. All the different patterns it is creating here are responses to changes in humidity, available nutrition, light, the textitily of the substrate and other things I don't know about, all at the same time. I'm not at all sure how much it notices or cares about the grease and dirt left by my hands and the ubiquitous cats paws, sneezes, coffee spills and so on. I don't know if it is happy enough on the paintings because when I soak them after they are painted they get a thin coating of the size that the paper is impregnated with. 

I don't know if it has any kind of memory. Or even what I think I might mean by memory here. 

I have no idea why it seems to be happy to forage endlessly across paintings carrying a burden of fluorescent powder with only the occaisional break with a clean oat flake on a bit of damp kitchen roll. But then I can't say I understand why I do, either.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Imaging the brain using old technologies

The mouldy painting from the last post. Anyway it still works fine and it's going in the show. Maybe put this one behind glass though, health & safety and all that...

When good paintings go bad

Another decompositionist work. Unintentional this time. Well it was only a matter of time before this happened.
The pretty greenish white fungus seems to have come on to the painting with the black paint, which I must have left sitting around for a bit too long. Then had a nice incubation as the painting lolled about damply waiting for the slime mould to finish with it. Dunno about the brown sugary-looking one but the white starry fungus belongs to the slime mould alone.

If anyone could identify any of these I would be very happy.