The Spider

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Spiders are genetically programmed to generate a symmetric algorithm of web - a map they are born with. I adopted the term ‘spider’ around two years ago - my brother and I were both attempting to reconcile with a loss of a loved one, an internal conflict of morale, an existential crisis that left us both in an agoraphobic state; unable to trust the innenwelt, unable to trust the umwelt. My brother and I have had a long history of trauma, symptoms of emotional flashbacks seemed to take a toll on the ways in which we processed novel traumas, unable to disconnect the web of our present from that of our past. It’s like watching a jump scare scene from a horror film on repeat, panicking, trying to find the remote to shut off the screen - but you realize you’re tied to your chair, unable to leave or move until the film decides to end at its own accord. We talked about this process, the inability to ‘control’ - how it frustrated it us, if we could find a way around it. That part we weren’t able to control was eventually named ‘The Spider’. A part of our mind that breathes for us, knows what to do when we sleep, knows what dreams to engage us in, to spark our interest. Albeit, as separate as it may seem, The Spider is still part of us. A mixture of the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS), the Subconscious and unconscious. The Spider takes care of everything that is not in our immediate attention, even thoughts we shove aside as we try to just engage in the everyday. As much as we’d like to believe that the spider and its daily ‘tasks’ are inaccessible, they aren’t. There exists a consciousness beyond the conscious, most commonly referred to as the meta-conscious - a level of thought that can contemplate the state of being conscious. As practice, my brother and I attempted to engage with that state of meta-consciousness, observing The Spider and its decisions - eventually redirecting it in healthier ways. Meta-consciousness is like a lens, a camera - a wide focused view on the body, mind, environment, and space. To be meta-conscious is to become a flaneur on the streets of your mind, watching thoughts swoosh by - traffic can be exhausting sometimes. A form of astral projection happening within the innenwelt, a meta-projection (so many metas, I know). A flaneur on busy city streets gazes at shadow, symmetry, and composition, contemplating the connections, the histories and reasonings, fragments of a greater puzzle. A meta-projection is just that, except instead of a city, it’s you. I’d like to take a closer look at The Spider, from a meta-conscious level, contemplating its activity.

Evaluating elements (symbols-signs-significations-language) in a virtual portrait of The Spider - through a meta-consciousness lens. 

Body    Gender & Interpellation, Mind & Matter, Senses & Auras, Skin & Gravity.


Gender & Interpellation, Mind & Matter, Senses & Auras, Skin & Gravity.

Space    Tangible & Intangible , Location & distortion, Innenwelt & Umwelt, Adaptations & Transitions.


Tangible & Intangible , Location & distortion, Innenwelt & Umwelt, Adaptations & Transitions.

Sphere    Identity & reality, Perception & Difference, Views & Beliefs, Histories & Drives.


Identity & reality, Perception & Difference, Views & Beliefs, Histories & Drives.

Environment    Socius & Culture, History & Paradigm, Public & Private, Family & Tradition.


Socius & Culture, History & Paradigm, Public & Private, Family & Tradition.


I’ve recently been experimenting with algorithmically relocating planes in meshes using Cinema 4D. I’ve also been working with generating particle turbulence and wind - manufacturing virtual physics. Doing so has expanded the ways in which i perceive objects on a daily basis. It seems as though a hyper-awareness of ‘parts’ provides the eyes with an ability to appreciate the very object itself - as a whole. Using 3D software is starting to widen my understanding of space and time; being able to replicate reality with so many functions is giving me the opportunity to look more closely at my environment - the little parts that eventually make up the whole. 

I’m curious as to how this technique could come into play with future works, or perhaps inform a way of thinking about material, space and time. I wonder what could come out of simulating subtle exaggerations of our physical reality- tweaking with gravity, hyperbolizing wind, adjusting properties of objects. 

‘Reality’ is a very abstract term. Is reality based on a shared understanding of space and thought? Is reality a personal journey that can only be understood and accepted by the passenger? Is reality the grey area in between? Contemplating the fluidity of ‘reality’ and its complete lack of consistency, perhaps could act as a starting point in reflecting on ‘empathy’. 

The Shell

Alessandro Keegan

gouache over walnut ink on paper

The shell, to Bachelard, is so much more than the exoskeleton of a mollusk; it is a home, skin, and an enclosed space where we hold the most precious energies of them all – ourselves. The shell is an analogy of the body, simultaneously, it is also an analogy of where we rest our bodies. Bachelard states that shells “are privileged forms that are more intelligible for the eye, even though more mysterious for the mind, than all the others we see indistinctly” (105); perhaps upon repeated exposure to our species on a daily basis, we find sanctuary and comfort in the image of a human, however, what lies beyond the human, within the shell, is always a mystery when facing a stranger. It seemed most prominent that Bachelard is referring to the soul, a portion of it “remain[ing] imprisoned […] not always tak[ing] a designated form” (108). Through imagination and meditation, he believes, a part of our soul is immersed into the world, for a brief second, until logic captures it back into our geometric shape; like a snail, we leave our shell to bask in immensity, but we always retreat back inside as a result of “fear” (110). In duality, nonetheless, the shell itself can also depict our homes, a shell, encasing a shell, incasing us. A home is something we carry, unlike a mollusk, on a metaphysical level – home is where we feel safe, where we settle, and that can change often enough for us to realize that it never generates out of materiality.

As cliché as it sounds, I had decided to read shells by the shore, assuming I would find inspiration in the aesthetics of the surrounding shells. Half-way through, I had decided to retreat home; I realized that my understanding of the text had been evolving from one of biocentricity to one of anthropocentricity, and the need to retract back into my shell was paramount. I sat on a cushion alongside shelves that displayed my mineral and rock collection; Bachelard spoke about ammonite, one of my favorite fossils, I used it as a bookmark.  Gazing through its peculiar shape was a gateway into understanding the dimension of the text, in its polychromatic form and symbolism of home, I was able to appreciate Bachelard’s homage to the body. I live in a newer apartment building, constructed in 2015, the walls have no stories, I am its first inhabitant – a blank slate to paint my own history into. A history I’ve carried along with me since I was younger; a shell. 

I was reminded of Alessandro Keegan’s piece Sanctuary (2017), to me, a vibrant illustration of emergence. “There is a sign of violence in all these figures in which an over-excited creature emerges from a lifeless shell” (Bachelard 111); this piece depicts just that. Foreign shapes and extraterritorial material dominate the composition, emerging from a seed-like vessel, a shell of some sort. What brings about aspects of violence is the background; muddy and assertive, convincing the audience that, behind its innocuous colors, there’s a danger to it. 

Anthropocentricity (Anthropocentrism):

“Regarding humankind as the central or most important element of existence, especially as opposed to God or animals” (Oxford Dictionaries). 

Biocentricity (Biocentrism):

“The view or belief that the rights and needs of humans are not more important than those of other living things” (Oxford Dictionaries).


"Anthropocentrism." Oxford Dictionaries. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 July 2017. 

Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space. Boston: Beacon, 1994. PDF.

"Biocentrism." Oxford Dictionaries. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 July 2017.