Spider Haus


Spider Haus by Ken Rinaldo

Spider Haus is a transpecies communication artwork constructed of stereo lithography plastic and a common house spider (Theridiidae) in the winter and an orbital web spider in the summer. It is designed to amplify and connect the viewer with the delicate beauty of arachnids. Since the beginning of history, spiders have been viewed as threatening creatures and enemies of humans. Arachnophobia is a rampant deep primeval repulsion of spiders though spiders offer tremendous benefits to humans such as eliminating harmful insects from our environment.

This work is designed as comfortable home for spiders with a hybrid rapid prototyped plant, which has spikes for easy web attachment. Blue LED's are designed to attract insects into the flower area and be ensnared in the spiders web. A small video camera is mounted on the interior of the plant-like forms and focuses up at the web - amplifying the spider environment to allow humans to observe and commune with them while mixing both humans and spider in an eco-techno-web.

Many spiders have eight eyes though some have just six, and all have jaw structures called (chelicerae) which are claw-like fangs through which they can inject venom. Spiders produce venom that is poisonous to their common prey of insects. The venom is injected to immobilize and kill their prey. Digestive fluids are injected into the prey since spiders can only ingest liquids.

Silk spinning glands are located at the tip of the abdomen. Spider silk is secreted through the spinnerets as liquid but hardens on air contact. A variety of silk created is to construct egg sacs, snares or webs, draglines and ballooning threads. Spiders lay their eggs in ball-shaped silken sacs that are often carried by the female or hidden in the web. A female can produce 3,000 eggs in several sacs over time. Eggs often hatch weeks later and can reach adult size in about one year. Spiders must shed their skin (molt) in order to grow and will do so up to twelve times before reaching full size.

Female house spiders are larger than males, about 1/3 inch long. In most spiders the females are usually larger than males. They commonly hang in the center of an irregular cobweb upside down. The sticky threads entangle insects, which are the bitten and sucked dry.

Orb spiders all construct the characteristic circular (orb web) in which insects are trapped during flight. In spite of many eyes, these spiders have poor vision and find their prey by feeling the vibration and tension on their web. When they find their prey they turn the captive with their legs, while wrapping silk around the victim. The prey are then bitten and injected with venom before being carried to the center of the web to be consumed.
Special Thanks to: John Marshall who worked tirelessly to massage 3D files, rapid prototype the leaves of the plant and finish and sandblast the petals. Kyoung Lee took sketches and created the 3D models for this work. Cézanne Marshall for her organization and support, Chris Gose for his excellent pedestal construction and Shawn Lind for his Plexiglas construction.

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