I'm building an exhibit about 400 years of art about slime molds. Now You See It! The Slime Mold Revelation will be on view at Seattle's Center for Urban Horticulture in Fall, 2015. Come party in the CUH library on September 18th (my birthday!)
Here are some images of the exhibit's conception, gestation, and installation.
First, I should explain that I've been immersed in slime molds for the past few years. I'm making illustrations for world-renowned slime mold researcher Dr. Stephen L. Stephenson, at the University of Arkansas.
Second, you'll want to know more about slime molds. Slime molds are the golden spore-filled blobs that appeared in your lawn overnight. They're the iridescent millimeter-tall corndog-looking things on your houseplant. The tiny parfait-cups and elaborate orange pretzels you stepped on in the woods. Slime molds are one-celled, bacteria-eating protists that travel the detritus of every continent.
So if they're so small and sparkly, Why the gross name? Slime molds begin their life as a fluid, pulsating, traveling, multinucleate cell called a plasmodium, like the cardboard one Todd is holding. Plasmodia can grow to be many feet long -- but still, they're just one cell.
I designed this plasmodium as a vector so that a robot could cut it out with the push of a button.
But in the end, it became necessary to supplement the robot's job with manual labor. Many generous humans stepped in to cut cardboard the old-fashioned way (with a Dremel tool and beer).
Nothing says Awe and Wonder like a diorama. I aspired to use free and natural materials: cardboard for the underground plasmodia, wax for the fruiting bodies (red and brown), Soy-based inks for the background images.
In the end, to be honest, some chemicals got mixed in. One day all my exhibits will be made of mycelium and treasures from dumpsters.
Enlarged on the walls and windows will be the incredible and little-known illustrations from The Myxomycetes of Japan, 1977.
I e-mailed slime mold art experts around the world in order to 'curate' and acquire images for the graphics in the exhibit. Here are some of the ones I got my hands on.