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Jenna Sutela


Physarum polycephalum, or the “many-headed” slime mold, is a single-celled, decentralized autonomous organism #DAO. It processes data without a nervous system, operating in a community of nuclei and using spatial intelligence. It is often referred to as a natural computer and has been popular in scientific experiments e.g. in cartography for its ability to navigate a maze using the shortest possible route. In robotics, there have been attempts to use it as a control unit. The slime mold survives by being in a constant state of flux. If it cannot find resources, bacteria to eat or a dark and damp living environment, it will turn into a scab or grow spores and move location. Similar principles apply to amorphous human orgs #selforganizing #agilesquads #holacracy. In management theory, organizations are organisms. Circles and holons replace linear org charts, focusing on fluid role definitions and transient relationship states.

‘Orgs’ conflates organizational charts, or organizational mazes, and slime mold. In navigating contemporary canals of power, resources and cultural materials, will the ancient organism’s flexible body and collective, spatial mind reveal something about the relationship and exchange between organizations and their environment? Has the world of our own making become so complicated that we must turn to primordial life to understand how to manage it? Or was it always the slime mold’s world, the world in which we occur?


Jenna Sutela, Orgs, 2015. Physarum polycephalum, agar and oats inside a holacratic organizational chart engraved on plexiglass (photo: Mikko Gaestel)
Compression Augmentation