Spidergoat & the Insect Electro is an installation that unravels a strange and thought provoking story about insect silk, told almost entirely with wool. The quest to obtain or replicate the qualities of spider silk reveal unusual methods of research from across the ages and into the contemporary transgenic era. What is revealed is hard to believe, but it is true! For me, after many years spent marvelling at the artistry of spiders as weavers, this installation gave me the opportunity to delve into the material qualities of spidersilk. As the strongest known natural fibre on the planet and many times stronger than steel, its elasticity and strength has been coveted by human industry and the sciences for centuries. It is with some satisfaction to me that it remains somewhat elusive, like natures last secret. Up to this point human interference in natural selection has been as an editor, not a creator but the story revealed a new branch of the tree of life. That of the synthetic kingdom – the human made lifeforms on the cusp of introduction that are falling under the gaze of industrialised biology. As Senior Curator Luke Keogh pointed out, we are entering ‘brave new worlds’.
Sound and lighting: Pierre Proske - Sensory Empire
Spidergoat and the Insect Electro is on show was shown at the National Wool Museum for May, June and July, 2018.