Tactile Morphology


In addition to the first part of Arnold Jan Quanjer’s project, where he studied the skin of leaves that he harvested in his garden, he  explored the movement of plants.

…”My garden was the starting point of my explorations. I collected flower buds and narcissus bulbs from my garden. I wanted to see how plants grow inside. My challenge was to visualize growth and movement. Would it be possible to film a plant from the inside and show what movement goes on inside a plant?

To make this happen I purchased an usb microscope and constructed a custom made stand to shoot a stop-motion movie. The result is a visualization of the movement and growth inside different narcissus bulbs and flower buds. I cut them in half and put them on a glass plate so I could film the inside. The film is about 2 and half-minute long. But it consists out of footage that I shot in about 2 months. You are looking at  14 days compressed into 2,5 minutes.

The title is Incrementum what means “growth” in Latin.

My Garden

Movement, very slow movement, became a distinctive theme during this project. Trying to perceive movement that you cannot not see is fascinating. I observed various plants. I tried very hard if I could see them move without the help of an usb microscope, without compressing time and speed it up.
But it did not work. I could not see a plant moving.

I had to make an unexpected, creative move to carry my research any further. Then I discovered that I had to turn everything upside down to create a new perspective.

I decided to become a plant my self.

I wanted to experience the speed of a plant by moving as slowly as possible and compare my slow motion with the movement of plants. I became a plant in the company of plants in my garden.


I took this experiment a little further and became a houseplant inside the apartment of my family-in-law during the easter weekend.

The Forest

In this movie I explored movement, growth and time from a different perspective. I got inspired by a childhood memory. When I was a little boy, that could not read yet. I asked my mother:” When will be my birthday?” She replied: “Your birthday will be when the trees get leaves”. My birthday is the second of May, the beginning of spring. Later that day she spotted me while I was looking out of the window. I looked very concentrated and it seemed that I was waiting for something. My mother asked what I was doing. I replied that I was waiting for the leaves to appear on the trees.

I decided to relive this childhood memory.

I went to a forest and sat down in a tree trunk and started waiting for the leaves to appear.

The complete research of  Arnold Jan Quanjer can be found on :

Slime Mould Apartment

Nenad Popov has been working on an advanced Slime Mould Apartment:

I was investigating the workings of various water pumps. My experiments concentrated around the inexpensive electric water pumps found in the common automatic soap dispensers (Brand:Dettol). This easy to find item contains various useful components:

  • Infra-red sensor and emitter;
  • Electronics that can easily trigger a motor if the IR beam is broken;
  • 3×1.5v battery housing;
  • Short tubings;
  • Water container;
  • DC-motor driven water pump(inside it is a small gearbox and a DC motor).

I performed two types of experiments, one of them was making a water-controlled tactile display and the other was life-support system for the Slime Mould organism used in my graduation project.
* Tactile display consisted of a field of syringes covering the size of a palm of a hand.

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First version was a kind of a tactile mirror: Two fields of syringes were filled with water and connected by soft tubes. If a person would push the syringe field on one end, another person could feel the pressure on the other side, and other way around. This provided an interesting way of non-verbal, tactile communication.
Second version was already leaning towards my graduation project: I wanted to see if I can make a sort of a tactile microscope enabling the audience to feel the shape of ‘microorganism’ Physarum Polycephalum with the back of their body. Or just to make a really tall scuplture with a lot of syringe-like structures slowly going up and down in the rhythm of the creature.
To try this out I connected syringes to the water pumps and figured out a way to pump the water in and out of a syringe. Unfortunately the pressure that these pumps provide was not even strong enough to push against the human skin, so all it could do is a microscopic nudge. This was way too far from the smooth motion of the Physarum P, so I decided to delay this project till I have more time for it.

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* Life support system for Physarum P is made out of parts that could be find in the supermarkets and in the junk. It’s purpose is to keep the temperature & water levels at ideal levels for this organism. The housing is a microwave oven, and the heat source can be an infra-red lamp or a foodwarming plate. In the tactile lab I finalized the water-pump system which was in charge of keeping the growing medium of physarum at ideal levels. I tested circuits and programs that would measure the resistance of the growth medium. If the growth medium is completely dry then there is no water to conduct electricity, and the more water the smaller electrical resistance. Based on this value, system can dispense water accordingly at keep the organism happy.

Here is a video file with installation outputs:

<p><a href=”″>Merger 2ch</a> from <a href=””>nesa</a&gt; on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

And here are other slime mould time-lapses:

<p><a href=”″>Physarum first timelapse</a> from <a href=””>nesa</a&gt; on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>
<p><a href=”″>Slimefilm</a&gt; from <a href=””>nesa</a&gt; on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Nenad Popov:


“I found a German recipe saying I should use urine, fire ashes and some kind of bark …”

…”From that day in October on I have tried growing mushrooms, not yet sure for what use. It is a very precise recipe, and each kind of mushroom has its own specifications when it comes to a certain diet and material to grow on. Out of everything I have tried, I only managed to grow the King Oyster on a very big piece of straw and crumbled mycelium from the King Oyster. By cooking the straw for about ten minutes, it becomes more or less sterilized. Then, wearing gloves that are also bacteria-free, I put bits from the King Oyster mycelium in the straw and mix it together. A plastic bag is steamed above the cooking water and then, holding the bag sideways so least bacteria will enter, the bag is filled with the mixture. Afterwards I tape the bag to close it off. The bag is then put it a dark and warm place for awhile.

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…..”It was then when I found out there is a species, the Tinder fungus (Fomes fomentarius) that can be made into a kind of leather, being chamois. Especially in Eastern Europe it is still used to make hats and aprons.

Recipes were scarce and most of them had potassium carbonate as the main ingredient. In search of a more natural and traditional recipe, I found a German recipe saying I should use urine, fire ashes and some kind of bark that I was unable to translate. I decided to use clove because of its strong scent instead. After a long search in the forest I found a couple of small Tinder funguses.
Cutting the Tinder fungus was very difficult. After having done so, I put everything together in a pan and let it sit for a month. Everything was grey and soaked when I opened it again, but it did not come out as I had hoped. I though the pieces would be soft and able to be mashed into a bigger piece of ‘fabric’ by hammering them into a shape. Nothing of this was true. So I washed the fungus and let it dry in the sun, hoping I could use it once I find a better recipe.

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Meanwhile, I became interested in tanning fish.  …. I researched recipes and tried some of them. One of it was a Alaskan traditional method. Best was to use the urine of a boy infant, but otherwise that of a boy who’s voice had not yet lowered. Not having those available, I decided to collect my own urine again, as I was doing so for the Tinder fungus project anyway. By letting it sit for a few days, the ammonia level would rise.
After this would be the case, I took a bowl. Half of the bowl would be filled with urine, half of it with water. Having cut the !sh in the right shape and having scraped the big chunks of meat off, I put the !sh skins in the mixture. I let them rinse for a few hours. After that, I washed them and scraped the remaining fat and flesh off. Then I laid them in the sun to dry.

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….Making precise patterns would become a necessity, while I wanted to keep the design open and decide by handling the material. So I had to find another way to create more possibilities of sewing on and working with the leather. On the internet I found a recipe stating I should make a mixture of half oil and half a bit of egg yolk. I tried to put the fish skins in it. When I washed them, it was very hard to get the egg yolk off and some stayed on the skins. They came out very orange and not flexible and shiny as what was written in the description of the recipe. The skins did not even became softer than without.

I then tried another recipe. First I would cut them, take the meat off and put them in the urine. Then dry them, then rinse them in soap water and then let them dry again. The skins came out wrinkled and felt like paper. By beating them though, I could make them soft and ready for use. The beating process takes rather long, an hour per fish skin, but the fish skins become soft and feel like a ‘real’ fabric.
Now still I am in the process of beating the skins, since I produced more than 80 tanned skins…..Nonetheless I first want to finish the fish skin project. Important is, now I know how the create a proper material to work with, find a use for it.

full report of Eric Peter:


Polly Oskam: “Gelatine is weird stuff. When I was a child my mother sometimes made colourful drilpudding (kind of jello) It always tasted a bit weird but it was a huge fun to see it wobble. I rather played with the “dessert” then eat it. I guess that’s why I chose this material.”

“I wanted to make a large sheet of this stuff and I started out experimenting with different ratio’s or recipes. I noticed that the more Glycerine used, the stickier and flexible it is, but it is not strong. Less Glycerine makes it celluloid like. Later on I experienced that the influence of the air humidity, the amount of water added and the time you let it dry has a huge effect on the material…..After at least letting the first sheet dry for a week: It did not break when bended, It felt like plastic, it still smelled a bit like wet dog, it was still pliant, it wasn’t sticky.”


100 ml glycerine
200 gr gelatin
800 ml water


200 ml glycerine
200 gr gelatin
800 ml water

“Also a good mixture, it filled the whole glass plate. After it dried it was a bit sticky, flexible almost like rubber. Every day it got more solid. This was the stuff I wanted!  Inoticed that the longer it dries the better it becomes, that temperature and humidity influence the dry time, the end product and can change the texture. I also found out that that if two different sheets are stacked upon each other they will ‘exchange’ properties. (texture, colour and solidity). The orange sheet is really versatile. it is still a bit sticky and it is really strong. I need to make some objects/clothes with it…”

Black Light

Katarina Jancovicova came with the idea of using tonic as a colouring. It lights up in blacklight.
of water I used tonic and this is the result: That was really a great idea!

SAMSUNG 41366865-tonic

Full research report of Polly Oskam:

Eucariotic Punk at the Lighthouse Festival, Korzo


Guided by the idea of the live cinema in its truest sense, Nenad Popov and Klaravat developed methods for growing specific kinds of living matter directly on 16mm film loops: mostly friendly species of fungi like moulds or yeasts.
The biological processes transform the film while it is playing in the projector. This results in an incredible variety of evolving landscapes composed by often unexpected assortment of textures, patterns and colors which, removing the spectator from the real world, let his subconscious free to fall into a dream.
They created a gratifying environment where not just the moving image will seduce the audience but the mechanical sound and structure of the projectors.

During the festival Lighthouse, 15th of March 2012 at the Korzo Theater (, The Hague, Nenad Popov and klaravat showed their grown mouldy films in a installation form.



complete research process of Eucariotic Punk:

The Secret Art of Growing Mushrooms

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Wednesday 02/03/2012 we had a awesome fungi workshop at Mediamatic in Amsterdam with Maurizio Montalti, a passionate researcher, artist and engineer interested in life’s bigger and smaller insights.

Besides he learned us to make a sawdust substrate on which woodloving mushrooms like Black Poplar,  Shitake or Glow in the Dark mushrooms like to grow,  Maurizio gave detailed feedback on all our fungi questions rising from our various  trial and errors fungi experiments in the last months.

We began the workshop by making a mixture of sawdust (from a nice windmill in Zaandam 49%), rye grains ( roggegraan, 4%), wheat bran (tarwezemelen 1%), calcium carbonate (krijt, verkrijgbaar bij Jacob Hooy 1%) and some water. Every substance is weighed and measured properly before we mix them thoroughly together. We put this mixture (the substrate) in special filter bags, and put the bags in a pressure cooker (for 40- 45 minutes) to get rid of the existing mold and fungus spores that are often naturally present on the wood. After we cool down the bags (which takes an hour) we add the mushroom spawn (10 gram per 1,5 kg substrate or one spawndowel) in the cleanroom, to avoid contamination and sealed the bags of. while waiting for the bags to cool down Maurizio passionate told lots of stuff like that you have to keep in mind 3 parameters for optimal growing conditions. that is temperature (25- 30 degrees celcius), humidity and sterile conditions), letting myclium growing in the dark goes faster. That bacteria normally fall from above so keep your bags horizontal when you open them and work fast. You can use 70% ethanol or alcohol to sterile your home made glove box. Oyster mushrooms are strong and can be grown on just straw nd don’t really need a hyper sterile environment.

It will take about 6 months before the shitake batches are fully grown. ( 4 months for the Black Poplar) When the time is ripe for sprouting you can give it a shock; by lowering the temperature with 10%, to let light come in and let oxygen in by simply opening the bag or by making a cut in the bag. Make sure you keep the humidity high, by spraying it every day (but don’t spray on the mushroom self). Only when the substrate block is completely white you can inject it with water with a syringe. You can as-well put  the bag in a terrarium together with a a few bowls of water, open te lit a few times a day to let oxygen in.

Also Maurzio and Margarita guided us along the works of amongst The Secret Sounds of Spores by Yann Seznec and Patrick Hickey Ecovative’s great light weight mycelium material samples, The mycotectures of Phil Ross, and the mycelium moulds of Thomas Pleeging <a href=”</p&gt;

To regenerate a harvested substrate batch, you can give it a cold bath (for about 4 hours.) and dry it with a towel.

In short  Maurizio  really opened some  doors in this workshop about the secret art of growing mushrooms.

Mediamatic’s Mycelium Rising blog has great fungal topics:

Growing Mouldy Films

Uldy inspired around the theme of manufactured landscapes, Clara Lozano and Nenad Popov have been investigating the possibilities of making a film using biological processes. Films were produced by growing the molds appearing from food (milk, tomato, etc) directly on 16mm film.
The results are abstract film compositions of colors, patterns, textures and sounds where each piece is unique and even evolving during the reproduction in the 16mm film projectors.

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The process: 

After wondering around how to experiment with film in a way that could be or become a performative material which is able to evolve over time we come with the idea.
 We are going to grow molds in 16mm film!

After recovering the wooden structure, that we are going to use to place our materials, with plastic foil for kitchen use, we can start pouring our ingredients.

1. Tomaten puree
2. Vole Yogurt (with blue food colorant)
3. Kookroom
4. Milk with green colorant

The wooden rail with the covered film needs to be covered with plastic around.

After one week some molds have grown on the film. We remove the film from the plastic where is quite stuck.

We clean the wood structure to place the film back, this time without the plastic. It needs more time! Nevertheless, it’s very stinky!

One week later:


After one more week:

The ingredients are now completely dry and molds have grown even more. The film needs to be removed again from the mold rail.
It doesn’t smell that bad anymore!
I have some doubts about the molds opacity, would the projectors light go through them?
After one more week we can start thinking on trying out the films for the first time!
The film holes are covered by mold, so we remake them by using some edged object.
Film is ready to be played in Eiki!
First try out was a great surprise:

full research of Nenad Popov and klaravat can be found at