Primordial Biocomputer

Solo project

2016

Inspired by Andrew Adamatzky's pioneering work on the logic of slime moulds, Primordial Biocomputer questions the expectation of living materials to act mechanistically in designed systems.

The emerging technological fields of synthetic and systems biology are challenging the boundaries between living and inert matter, and raising questions about humanity’s relationship to non-human organisms. Genetically modified organisms are increasingly being used in industrial processes; however, outside these controlled environments, can we expect them to behave mechanistically?

The Primordial Biocomputer places acellular slime moulds in a series of logic gates which make up a simple physical computing device. Over roughly 2 weeks, the slime moulds make decisions based on their chemical environment, which can be output as binary data.

Can the slime moulds correctly calculate 2 + 3, or will their inherent unpredictable nature override their human-prescribed task?


The biocomputer on display at Edinburgh College of Art.


An innoculated AND logic gate encased in a laser-cut vitrine.


An innoculated OR logic gate encased in a laser-cut vitrine.


A slime mould in the lab, drawing networks between food sources (in this case, porridge oats).


Testing out the logic gates in the lab.


My first cast-glass logic gate in action.


The slime mould defying the rules of the game and leaving the logic gate.


The prepped kiln, ready to cast my black glass logic gates.


The gates, fresh out of the kiln and before cleaning up the flashing.