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The Creeping Garden

The Creeping Garden [PDF]

The Creeping Garden is an introduction to the mysterious world of myxomycetes, or plasmodial slime moulds. A living being all but unknown to most of us and invisible to the naked eye for much of its life cycle, these strange organisms are neither plant, animal nor fungi, yet share certain behaviours with members of all of these kingdoms. They shift in form throughout several distinct phases of existence. Their main state of being is as colonies of microscopic creeping or swimming swarm cells. When they have exhausted the sustenance available to them, the individual cells aggregate into the mobile plasmodial phase, clustering to form a larger body encased in gelatinous slime that crawls to new ground before forming fruiting bodies that release their spores to reproduce. The myriad of separate species discernable in the slime mould s visible phases are often astonishingly beautiful, manifesting themselves as filigrees of sulphurous-coloured threads, scarlet globules, ochre crusts, or as clusters of individual fruiting bodies resembling tiny mushrooms or pinheads. The slime mould is all but unknown to most people. And yet small groups of scientists, artists, musicians and visionaries have begun to find within the intriguing behavioural patterns of this peculiar life form extraordinary metaphors that seem to belong to the world of science fiction, inspiring practical applications such as powerful computing devices, transport network designs and robot controllers. This lavishly-illustrated companion to the documentary of the same name is intended as a layperson s entry point into the world of the slime mould, fleshing out some of the ideas contained within the film while providing a more thorough investigation into its otherworldly subject matter. Providing an insight into the modus operandi of the film s makers and the perceptual world of the organism, it brings the reader into a unique and irrational encounter in which time and space are magnified and intelligence redefined."
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