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NEXTO serie > DIY BIO-LOGIC WORKSHOP: Living structures and swarm bodies

Interactions between biological/digital computing – slime mold & digitally printed 2D patterns.


Maurizio Montalti (Officina Corpuscoli)
Sonja Bäumel (Studio Sonja Bäumel)
Mirko Daneluzzo, Tommaso Casucci (Co-de-iT)
WAAG Society, Makers Guild – first floor, Nieuwmarkt 4 1012 CR Amsterdam

January 24 and 25 2014

Five different processing-based softwares and a related interface were developed to allow the users to easily define the desired patterns, and export the related G-Code to the hacked 3D-printer.
In order to better analyse the interaction of theP.polycephalum with the printed patterns, we created an image resulting from the overlap of the tim-elapse frames and describing the way in which the slime mold explored different paths.

Workshop Keynotes:

[.] Background
Over the past few decades, biology has entered the collective debate more than any other science. Organisms can be manipulated, by combining
different features, to perform specific functions. Designers cannot be careless about the contribution of this science, that enables a paradigm shift of the design tools, changing them from a system of representation of a product, to a direct materialization of the product through novel specific processes (e.g 3D printing); this, by defining a new balance between the autonomy of the process itself and the will of the designer.

[.] Trans-disciplinary

This workshop merges the expertise, the skills and the knowledge-based activities originating in a digital environment (Computational Design & 3DModeling), transfers these to the physical world (3D-printing) and subjects them to the study of the behavior of an organism (Biology). More specifically, the participants will be introduced to different practices, ranging from computational design and digital simulation to biology, sterile processes, biohacking and organic 3D printing.
Thanks to the material we use, which has been specifically developed for the workshop, the resulting organically printed pattern will constitute a fertile ground for the chosen organism to grow on.


On the last day of the workshop, during the “LIVING-STRUCTURES” event, we will show the designs and experiments derived from the 2-days workshop to the audience.
We will discuss the technical, design and ethical issues and allow the audience to experience “hands-on” how to work with 3D printers and living

[.] Brief

Create a design, print using an hacked 3D printer and organic material, which is a fertile breeding ground for a slime mould – see how the mold grows and redefines the shape of your structure.
What happens when living organisms grow on designed structures made of organic, super fertile material, shaped by you?
During this 2-day workshop you will develop and potentially print your own generative pattern, which will be eventually colonized by an incredibly intelligent organism: the slime mold Physarum polycephalum. Collectively we will develop an organically printed system and experiment with the circumstances under which slime mold colonies expand, exploring potential strategies for printing with living material.
This workshop is trans-disciplinary – calling all designers, architects, developers, bio-hackers & artists!

[.] The goal

The aim of this experimental workshop is to design artificial systems combining digital strategies and living material. We will introduce you to a
brand new methodology for printing organic-based-materials. Practice and experiment combined with lectures and discussions will allow you to extend your knowledge. At the same time we will define the state of the art, identify the directions for this new development, and debate about the impact of these practices.