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Body of Inquiry:
The Art, Biology, and Being of Flatworms

A collaboration with Mol Mir, Steph Nowortarski, and Jason Pollen

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What if you could clone yourself from a piece of you as small as a fingertip? Or if you never scarred after an injury? What if you were effectively immortal?

Remarkably, for the planarian flatworm, specifically of the species Schmidtea mediterranea, these seemingly fantastical scenarios are quite ordinary. And they’ve been performing these biological feats on the planet for ages. Planarian ancestors likely existed before the Cambrian period, 146 million years ago, and flatworm relatives show up in the fossil record 40 million years ago. Despite their long history, as far as we can tell, they have remained largely unchanged. Flatworms like Schmidtea mediterranea can be found all over the world, from fountains in Italy, to lakes in Mexico, to our neighboring Brush Creek.

    Four intergenerational and interdisciplinary artists have plunged into the muck of local Kansas City waterways and emerged with an even greater understanding for the complexity found where, at first glance, there appears to be little to look at...

Gathering specimens from Swope Park in Kansas City.

Swope Park documentation by Linda Misiura

What can these flatworms teach us about being human?

A Drawn Line

Directed and Produced by William Plummer
Sound Recording and Production: Jametatone
Footage: Steph Nowotarski and Mol Mir
Opening Animation: Steph Nowotarski
Dylan Cramm Horn (bass guitar)
2007 Balquier (trumpet)
Brad Highnam (upright bass)
William Plummer (cello)

Worm in a Lifetime

Produced by William Plummer
Featuring: Steph Nowotarski, Mol Mir, Jason Pollen, and William Plummer
Footage: Steph Nowotarski and Mol Mir
Song credit: Once in a Lifetime by the Talking Heads

Full Circle
Digital print, 48” x 48” , 2020

“Full Circle”

Lipid globule core
lapping rocks into sand
You know I'm only
One pat butter
Single Teaspoon oil
Trust me, Homogenous mixture
Suck the salt from a handful of ocean
Sunny side up,
Eggy yolk-soul.