How to Entangle the Universe in a Spider Web, spans two galleries within Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires (Moderno) with two immersive installations as the result of a decade’s worth of interdisciplinary artistic research. In both artworks, the visitor experiences the universe as represented by a network of interconnections in which each element expands and transforms the others, reconfiguring their material and social boundaries. Combining Saraceno’s interest in arachnology and astrophysics with sound and the visual arts, the project introduces museum visitors to a collective ‘cosmic concert’ that envelops the two spaces. Suspended filaments of webs and swirling formations of dust foreground a floating journey through the ‘cosmic web’ where endless connections that would otherwise be overlooked are made tangible.
In the installation The Cosmic Dust Spider Web Orchestra, visitors find themselves part of a rhythmic ensemble. A light beam makes cosmic dust visible in a dimly lit room. Through a live three-dimensional video recording, the floating dust particles are tracked and sonified. Their sounds, determined by their position and the speed at which they travel through space, are amplified and spatialized over a set of over 25 loudspeakers.
On the second floor of Moderno, the installation Quasi-Social Musical Instrument IC 342 built by 7000 Parawixia bistriata – six months, features the largest three-dimensional spider web ever exhibited. Here, as visitors wander through shiny filaments, galactic clouds and clusters appear as extended ripples of a micro- and macrocosmos of cooperation. Interconnected threads woven by thousands of quasi-social spiders from the Argentinian Parawixia bistriata species surround the visitor. These drawings in the air, made by an estimated 40 million threads, reveal the trajectory of cosmic dust particles.
“Silky airborne scores… constellations of musical notes made of cosmic dust, traces of movement in the air, trajectories of falling stars… a sonic journey… through multiverses… a 4 billions years old tour… cosmic resonance”
(Tomás Saraceno, 2016)
“To start, you must first blindfold yourself: the spider’s eyesight is very poor, her eyes are on the wrong side of her body to see the web’s lines as she hangs below them, and in any case she often works at night. (…) The air is highly viscous at the scale of the spider; for a human, an analogous situation would be building a web of elastic ropes under water. You must instead depend on the vagaries of the wind; you will have to launch new lines, allowing their tips to float away on irregular air currents.”
Process | Tomás Saraceno: How to Entangle the Universe in the Spider Web
For six months in 2016, Moderno housed specimens of the species Parawixia bistriata and witnessed how spiders inhabit a space. This species, hailing from Copo National Park located in the northeast of Santiago de Estero and from the Buenos Aires Province, generally weaves longer threads than other species – up to 15 metres long – and is one of the twenty-five species that demonstrate social, cooperative behaviour among the over 43.000 known species of arachnids across the world.
Publication | Tomás Saraceno: How to Entangle the Universe in the Spider Web
A publication including a series of texts was produced on occasion of the opening at Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires with contributions from Philip Ball, Fellx Bruzzone, Mauricio Corbaln Rodrigo Draz, Soffa Dourron, Sasha Engelmann, Marfa Galnza, Carlos Gamerro, Alex Jordan, Mylne Ferrand Lointier, Mathew Lutz, Derek MCC:onnack, PIAO Interdisciplinary Atmospheric Observatory, Martin Ramirez, Pablo Seman, Nicholas Shapiro Joi Thomson and Jeny Zee. The publication is a preview of a dialogue that will continue to develop and will be completed with other contributions to be included in the exhibition catalogue in 2017.
Press Selection | How to Entangle the Universe in a Spider Web
Ball, Philip. Animal Behavior: World of Webs. 16 March, 2016. Nature.
Chatruc, Celina. Tomás Saraceno: “El Arte Siempre Dispara, Uno Nunca Sabe Para Qué Lado”. 29 March, 2017. La Nacion.
Centenera, Mar. Un Labertino Cósmico Tejido por 7000 Aranas. 7 April, 2017. El Pais.
Isola, Laura. Aracnofilia: Devenir Animal. 16 April, 2017. Perfil.
Da Silva, José. Tomás Saraceno Collaborates with 7000 Spiders to Make Largest-ever Exhibited Web. 24 April 2017, The Art Newspaper.