Bio Series


Decisions setup 2022

Decisions is an experimental environment for slime mold (Physarum polycephalum) to inhabit with introduced attractions, obstacles, and other elements creating opportunities for decision-making. Decisions resides under a black fabric case with an observation flap (removed for images.) The first environments contained three food sources: leaves and twigs (food in the wild,) old-fashioned oats (food in the lab,) and cubes of agar mixed with sugary, red, food dye gel.

Physarum polycephalum is a plasmodial slime mold, a collective of social amoebae that congregate, forming one large, bright yellow, pulsating, slimy cell of cytoplasm containing many nuclei. Plasmodial slime mold exhibits alternative intelligence and is capable of advanced logic, yet slime mold does not have a brain. Slime mold can travel in search of food, has wildly varied morphology throughout its life cycles, and is highly adaptable to diverse environmental conditions, making it an excellent non-human partner with which to explore alternative intelligence.

Decisions Case

Slime mold prefers dark environments, so a time lapse camera with a flash records activity over time. Slime mold exhibits chemotaxis and phototaxis, moving either toward or away from chemical and light-based stimuli. As Decisions progresses, I will introduce varied, intermittent light effects and other stimuli.

Decisions plate aged one week

Slime mold sporifies when conditions are right, so that each colony can be preserved and given a fresh start in the future. Each spore looks like a tiny tree with a stalk. Those amoebae that formed the stalk self-sacrificed for those that formed the spore itself. 

Decisions spores 2022

Microscopic images of a broken spore.

Myco-planning Network

Myco-planning Network

“…the distributed ‘logic’ underpinning [the organism’s] decision-making routines corresponds to human logic behind planning decisions.”

Andrew Adamatzy and Jeff Jones

Myco-planning Network, a collaborative data visualization, art, and citizen science exhibit focusing on the topic of hunger, and the networks and systems that both create and seek to solve human problems -

Begun in the summer of 2015 by Stephanie Rothenberg and Amy Pilling, Myco-planning Network is a cross-species collaboration harnessing alien intelligence to solve human problems. Slime molds and fungi create efficient networks providing resources equitably to the collective. How can human beings understand alien patterns and efficiencies from natural systems? What can we learn from them to address childhood hunger in New Mexico?


Mycelium pinning
Myco-planning Network detail

|art|science\ecology                    © 2022, Amy Pilling. All rights reserved.

error: Copyright ©2015-2021, Amy Pilling. All rights reserved. Please contact me if you would like to use images. Thanks!