The Silkworm Project

  • New Media

The Silkworm Project is an installation series consisting of machine objects, experimentation and artifacts that explore the possibilities of hybrid bio-machine worlds that can generate self-organizing silk structures. The silk machines utilize a closed feedback system between the organic and the artificial, where the biological - in this case the silkworms, and the computational - the electronic and digital systems that provides a spinning environment for the worms, from one fluid eco-system demonstrating automated production that is autonomous in its nature. The Silkworm Project is a case study within a larger research interest and project by the artist that explores a non-human cybernetic system approach to machine logic, specifically investigating the intelligence and ingenuity of insect. The series is broken down into three parts. In the first part, Machine I: Flat Spinning, I take a cultural and historical approach through the entangled history of weaving technology and computation technology, and places the silkworm and sericulture within a human-centric value system and machine system. The second part is centered around Machine II: Spatial Spinning, where I developed a machine logic that caters to the spatial perception of the silkworm and its spinning behavior, creating an artifact that brings out and projects the alien perspective of the biological insect. The third part speculates on a new animal-machine hybrid universe that is explored through the design and testing of Machine III: Levitation. Through this process of experimentation, I questions and speculates on the complex cultural, biological and technological fabric that makes up the context of the silkworm.

Duke Faculty Artists/Collaborators

Cited Artists/Collaborators

  • Weijing Xu

Creation Date

  • 2019