"Community Mapping with Slime Mold," with Blaine O'Neill

Date(s) - Tuesday 07/30/2013 - 08/02/2013
2:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Plus, join us THURDSAY, July 25 from 12:00 – 1:30 for  Community Discussion to brainstorm key nodes for community mapping in North Troy!

WHERE: Meet at the Sanctuary each morning, then hit the streets as we spread out across 6th Ave. from Glen Ave. to 101st St.!

REGISTER at: mediasanctuary.org/workshopregistration

Registration fee: sliding scale, depending on what you can contribute: $1 – $350!

Pre-registration is requested.  We are taking reservations for those committed to participate fully in this 3-day workshop.  If you cannot participate for the entire time, please let us know your availability. 

Questions? Email:[email protected], or call 518-272-2390 for more information.

Join Bioartist Blaine O’Neill in this interdisciplinary, “public lab.”  We’ll use the scientific method to investiate and think critically and forwardly about our social and environmental surroundings.

Physarum polycephalum, known as the “many-headed slime,” is an adept network builder. Scientists, increasingly compelled to study “smart” behaviors in lower life forms, use slime mold to solve mazes, anticipate events, and even simulate efficient rail and road networks. Fuzzy logic and a recognition of the problem-solving capabilities wired in other species holds enormous potential for both biological, social, and architectural discovery.

In this workshop, we will explore what adaptive biological networks in P. polycephalum plasmodia can teach us about the way that we inhabit, design, and shape urban communities. By focusing on the social analogy of individual cells coming together to form a complex, intelligent multicellular organism—the network—we can investigate how cities grow and connect, how the people and life that inhabit them move through these networks, and how the configuration of these networks may affect public health, prosperity, demographics, and mobility. Exploring the complex and graceful division of labor employed by these social amoebae (some cells form the stalk, others form the spores that will propagate future generations) we can talk about the importance of community in sustainable design and thriving lives.

This interdisciplinary “public lab” will catalyze members of the community to recognize perspectives gained using the scientific method to think critically about our social and environmental surroundings. The biological analogies in urban planning, community organizing, and public health provide links between different constituencies in and around North Troy, including local middle/high school students, scientists affiliated with the university, community organizers, urban farmers, naturalists/hobbyists. 

Part of the “BioArt in the Industrial Wasteland” series, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

MORE ABOUT Blaine O’Neill

Blaine O’Neill is an artist, designer, and activist. A member of the performance + art lab Early Morning Opera, he is currently developing HOLOSCENES, a multi-disciplinary project about flooding, climate change, and the future of long-term thinking. Blaine is moving to Troy to join a cooperative of independent small business owners called Margination. With a focus on the permeability of activism, art, biology, architecture, and technology; Blaine seeks to immerse and understand interaction among humans, other life forms, and ecologies. He prefers frequently collaborating with everyone.

MORE ABOUT BioArt in the Industrial Wasteland

“BioArt in the Industrial Wasteland” introduces the community to an interdisciplinary approach to problem solving with a really strong arts and science component,” said Project Coordinator Kathy High.  The artist workshops will build upon a growing momentum on a block of Troy – 6th Avenue between 101 Street and Glen Avenue – that has suffered decades of neglect. The block is now home to a series of community organizations, including The Sanctuary for Independent Media, Collard City Growers and Troy Bike Rescue, as well as social networks and religious and community groups.  “This is one of the most economically challenged areas in Troy and these projects are bringing new life – including the community of RPI — into this area,” says RPI Arts Professor Kathy High. “It’s exciting that we can all be a part of the growth in this community.”

“Bioart in an Industrial Wasteland” and “Found Art in North Troy” are funded by the National Endowment of the Arts, with additional support from NYSCA, community organizations and volunteers.