February 24, 2012

The Golden Spiders' Invisibility Cloak


O, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't!

-- The Tempest

As is my cynical wont I first tended to scoff at this project. But then, as the amazing level of obsession matched with beauty started to reveal itself I became fascinated. "O brave new world that has such people in it," indeed.

Nicholas Godley: This cape has taken us about 3 years, and about 1.2 million spiders. The spiders are collected in the wild, and they’re collected individually, and they’re kept alive, they’re harnessed and then milked, and then they produce between 30 and 50 meters of thread, and then that takes about 25 minutes and then they are released back into nature.

Simon Peers: This is the invisibility cloak, you literally cannot feel it, it’s quite extraordinary. I think one of the reasons for that is that if you get a cross-section of the silk you can see it’s perfectly cylindrical, the silk, unlike the Chinese Silk Worm which has got this sort of irregular, triangular cross-section. So I mean the choice of the cape was because it’s sort of a familiar garment, but at the same time it’s slightly unfamiliar because not many people actually put capes on. In early childhood you read nursery rhymes and other things which have spiders in. There is something of that fairytale aspect to this I think. There’s a sort of link to the comic book heroes, the super heroes, the cape and the Spiderman, the Batman, I don’t know there is a sort of amusing nod in that direction. But then there’s also, I think there’s an element of ritual about it which I felt was important in this. So you know, it’s sort of like a dalmatic or chasuble of a priestly robe of some sort. It lent itself to one’s imagination in terms of rights and rituals. And also just on a practical level, you know, it’s a large surface which you can then use like a canvas, on the back there’s a very big surface which you can then decorate and adorn or do whatever you like with.


Posted by gerardvanderleun at February 24, 2012 11:23 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

"The world is made of spiderwebs, the webs are stuck to me and you"


Posted by: tim at February 24, 2012 1:23 PM

An amazing display of human vanity yet, also of human achievement. We are incredible but still we are nothing. Makes you wonder what comes next.

Who would dare wear such a thing? Barack?

Posted by: I-RIGHT-I at February 24, 2012 4:02 PM

Cynical man above. It's exquisite for the sake of itself and that alone makes it a rare and extraordinary thing. Why taint it with politics? But if we must, the Emperor's clothes don't seem to be able to hide his naked power grab.

Posted by: Jewel at February 24, 2012 4:46 PM

Is it any less a work of art than an offering from Van Gogh, Leonardo or Puccini?

I think not.

Posted by: Mumblix Grumph at February 24, 2012 7:46 PM

Magnificent, but those woven spiders all over it would creep me right the hell out. I'd feel like a drunk with the DT's.

Posted by: rickl at February 24, 2012 9:23 PM

Love it. It's quite exquisite. Worth over a cool mil, if you ask me...

Quick! Put it under a vault, before Michelle Antoinette gets a hold of it...

Posted by: newton at February 24, 2012 9:48 PM

Hahahaha! Beautiful! Clearly you've given up cyncism after your heart was started for the second time. Thank you for sharing Wonder with us. We need it.

Posted by: Gray at February 24, 2012 10:36 PM

The illicit son of the Director and Linda. He was born and reared on the Savage Reservation ("Malpais") after Linda was unwittingly left behind by her errant lover. John the Savage is an outsider both on the Reservation - where the ignorant natives still practise marriage, natural birth, family life and religion - and the ostensibly civilised Brave New World: a totalitarian welfare-state based on principles of stability and happiness, albeit happiness of a shallow and insipid nature. The Savage has read nothing but The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. He quotes them extensively and, for the most part, aptly, though his allusion to "Brave New World" [Miranda's words in The Tempest] takes on a darker and bitterly ironic resonance as the novel unfolds. John the Savage is intensely moral. He is also somewhat naïve."


Posted by: notquiteunBuckley at February 25, 2012 12:25 AM

"Cynical man above."

Hardly cynical J. I'd like to think I'm just less impressed with the material than those who don't believe there's anything better. Now, if that were a Ferrari or a sixites model XKE....

Posted by: I-RIGHT-I at February 25, 2012 9:37 AM

What Mumblix said.

Posted by: pdwalker at February 26, 2012 6:06 AM