Inside a dark exhibition hall at the Asia Culture Center, Gwangju, South Korea, a gigantic spider is crawling along the web she has built with her own silk threads inside a cubed frame. The spinning process and the sound of her creation are amplified by a microphone and the image is projected on the wall behind. The eerie installation could well be the perfect prop for Halloween, but according to its creator, Argentine artist Tomás Saraceno, we have a lot to learn from spiders—including, possibly, how to live with climate change.
“These complex spider webs help us understand that we are part of this cosmic web,” the Berlin-based artist told Quartz, speaking about the large-scale work Cosmic Dust Installation featured in Our Interplanetary Bodies, his first solo exhibition in South Korea running until March 25, 2018.
Born in 1973 and trained as an architect before becoming an artist, Saraceno is known for creating artworks inspired by spiderwebs—and often made by actual spiders, thousands of them. Nearly a decade ago, he set up a spider lab in his three-storey studio in southeast Berlin near the Spree River to study spider architecture. It is a place that nearly a hundred spiders call home, and he looks at their behavior and creations for inspiration for futuristic architectural structures that can help humans live in a climate-changed environment.
Arachnologists have praised his work for “expanding the horizons of scientific research,” with his approach of making photogrammetric scans of spider habitats in order to construct large three-dimensional models of them. Bruno Latour, a French anthropologist who focuses on science and technology, said that for Saraceno to achieve his artistic aims, he had to first “push the frontier of spider science.” Read more