Protoplasmic routes

Protoplasmic routes is a BioArt project that explores the growth and learning of the plasmodial slime mold Physarum polycephalum, feeding and growing inside acrylic mazes built on Petri dishes.

This project focuses on the livability of our human species, both from a scientific perspective and also humorous fiction. The story is based on a text I wrote and narrated by Eva, the computerized voice from iOS text to speech.

It focuses in our vital relationship with technology and microorganisms. Our symbionts and co-travelers since our species emerged millions of years ago.

It is a fictional vision of human existence permeated by panspermia, biological computers and humid technologies. It aims to bring a hopeful, and perhaps even humorous approach to the posthuman perspective, narrated by a microscopic elder consciousness.

For ten days I contemplated the complex interactions of growth, movement and learning of slime mold Physarum polycephalum. The beauty of impermanence as a metaphysical reflection became very tangible to me in this process.

Protoplasmic routes at Bienal de Arte Digital
Linguagens Hibridas Brasil 2018. Photo: Gustavo Baxter / Alicate
Protoplasmic routes at Digital Graffiti Arts festival 2017, Alys Beach Florida USA
Protoplasmic routes at Sherman Studio Arts Center 2016, Columbus Ohio USA

Our current times contain large doses of social, economical and political uncertainty. Specially for the ethnical minorities and developing nations. At the accelerated rhythm towards our global Singularity, I believe that revelations for our human coexistence and livability might come in the language-code of non-human forms of life.

Detail of a growing colony of Physarum growing inside an acrylic maze.
“A labyrinth is a circuitous path that people have used as a form of prayer and meditation for thousands of years. A path that is being rediscovered as a spiritual tool in our own day.”
[Schapper & Camp, 2000]
Ken Rinaldo and Axel Cuevas Santamaría during installation at Sherman Studio Arts Center, Columbus Ohio



– Digital Graffiti Arts Festival 2017, Florida USA
– Central Academy of Fine Arts 2017, Beijing China

– EVA18 Politics of the Machine Conference 2018, Copenhagen Denmark

– PDC18 Participatory Design Conference 2018, Hasselt Belgium

– Wexner Center for the Arts 2018, Columbus Ohio USA

– Digital Arts Biennale 2018, Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro Brazil 

– The Wall Space Exhibition 2020, Scotland UK
– INSIGHT Conference 2023, Berlin Germany


– Digital Arts Biennial Catalog FAD 2018

– Slime mold in the arts and architecture, River Publishers Denmark 2019

– Antennae Journal #59 Microbial Ecologies 2022

Protoplasmic routes was awarded Curator’s Choice Award at Digital Graffiti Arts Festival 2017

Interview with curator Brett Phares:

Protoplasmic routes at Wexner Center for the Arts 2017, Columbus Ohio USA

Protoplasmic routes at Bienal de Arte Digital
Linguagens Hibridas Brasil 2018. Photo: Gustavo Baxter / Alicate
Axel Cuevas Santamaría placing acrylic mazes inside Petri dishes
This project was made in collaboration with Jason Slot and the
Department of Plant Pathology at The Ohio State University
Protoplasmic routes at Hopkins Hall Gallery 2016, Columbus Ohio USA

Publications of Protoplasmic routes:

Slime mold in the arts and architecture,
Chapter 15: Protoplasmic routes
River PublishersDenmark, May 2019

Catalogue: Bienal de Arte Digital – Linguagens Hibridas Brasil 2018

Other work by Axel Cuevas Santamaría:

Inspirations for Protoplasmic Routes:

Protoplasmic routes inspirations 009
The Living Screen Project, 2017
Protoplasmic routes inspirations 008
MORPHS: Responsive architecture
Protoplasmic routes inspirations 004
Stabilimentum: Air purification mask made from spider webs


0 respuestas a “Protoplasmic routes”

  1. […] Along the line of exploring my feeling of empathy with slime mould Physarum Polycephalum, I enhance my connection with imaginary worlds I perceive between microscopic and macroscopic dimensions.  A sonification process of microscopic fluids streaming data over this organism’s veins is the basis of this installation.  After this installation, I continued working with slime mould creating two more pieces: first_contact live AV performance and Protoplasmic routes. […]

Deja un comentario

Tu dirección de correo electrónico no será publicada. Los campos obligatorios están marcados con *