Last week I turned 30. To celebrate, I had the grand opening of the exhibit I've been curating / designing / fabricating over the last 9 months. I'll share some photos of the party soon, but first, an important back-story about one of many obstacles I faced in the week and a half preceding.
The above images illustrate how a slime mold's life works. Complex, bizarre, and combining aspects of the lives of animals and fungi, this cycle has befuddled scientists and scientific illustrators for centuries. I decided to translate the scientific storyline into a giant gilded installation across the wall of the Library.
Tom and I installed this cardboard sculpture of a plasmodium (a young, one-celled slime mold) a week and a half before the opening. But, the Library made us take it down. Earlier, I wrote about my desire to make exhibits completely out of "sustainable" and biodegradable materials. But as I said, this time around, I used some spraypaint. Turns out, the Library is not cool with spraypaint.
Don't the spray-foam puffs resemble the amoeboid beginnings of life? I love this image, and I can still smell the adrenaline I felt when--after weeks of intermittent spray-painting--I realized suddenly that the library might be unhappy with my choice of materials. But it was too late. The morning after I took this photo, this thing was going up on the wall.
So, we took it down and shoved it back in my trunk. This time Tom didn't bother to lay between its layers, clinging to it to keep it from escaping as I drove across town.
What was I going to do? I couldn't spend more money on the plasmodium. My mom was in town by now. We started making a new one in the most sustainable way possible, out of my vast piles of paper waste from the exhibit design process. But it looked a lot like trash.
To make a long story short, my mom and I found an environmentally friendly sealant at an environmentally friendly hardware store, slathered it on the by then well-worn sculpture, and convinced the library that all was well. They very kindly allowed us to stick it back up on the wall. It looks way better than trash, I think, but I will never use spray-paint again.