The slime mould: a form of microbial life with behavior somewhere between plant and animal and capable of primitive intelligence. Unusual? Yes, and just wait until you meet the people who study them …
Who says you need a work of fiction to take you to the far reaches of space to explore the unusual, beautiful and strange? Too often we forget that world around us is positively littered with the odd and the alien. So enter directors Jasper Sharp and Tim Grabham with their gorgeously photographed documentary The Creeping Garden to remind us.
Enter the world of the slime mould, a microbial life form that exists in thousands of species all around us but is seldom acknowledged or studied. Yes, the faint of heart will be warned off by their very name and, yes, they can be rather slimey. But viewed in time lapse macro photography – as they are throughout the film – these are weirdly alien and beautiful structures, pulsating with life as they form patterns and overcome obstacles with what scientists believe are signs of primitive intelligence.
And as compelling (read: odd) as the moulds themselves are they are nothing compared to the people who have built their lives around them. Sharp and Grabham take a sort of Errol Morris approach to their subjects – scientists, artists and amateur enthusiasts – leaving them free to wax poetic about their most unusual obsession leading the viewer to conclude that perhaps some of the humans around us are every bit as alien as the things that grow unseen in the dark and perhaps the world is a better – or at least more interesting – place because of it.(Todd Brown)