by Jenna Sutela

A video loop based on footage of Orbs, a series of three spherical mazes juxtaposing Physarum polycephalum, or the slime mold, with organizational and spiritual charts. The Orbs were originally exhibited at Future Gallery, Berlin in summer 2016.

The video focuses on the Minakata Mandala, a shape drawn by a Japanese naturalist named Minakata Kumagusu, who collected slime mold samples for Emperor Hirohito in the 1920s. In a letter to a Buddhist monk, Kumagusu represented his view of the world through the mandala drawing: “With humans placed at the center of the diagram, our ability to comprehend causal connections between things diminishes as they are located further outward from the center and our awareness of them becomes more tenuous.” 

Here, Kumagusu’s mandala is spatialized and chromed in reference to T-1000, a robot from the Terminator that likens to the slime mold: a self-reconfiguring, many-headed system, liquid inside and shape-shifting gel-like structures outside. A chant, or a sounding mantra accompanies the amalgamation of these two cultural references, or forms of organization, and the slime mold’s body as it slowly extends itself around them.

Camera and editing: Mikko Gaestel