5 min performance in zero gravity and underwater photography
Device: Aluminum, 3D prints from Formlab, magnet, Nylon string, motors and electronics
A noiseless patient spider,
I mark'd, where, on a little promontory, it stood, isolated;
Mark'd how, to explore the vacant, vast surrounding,
It launch'd forth filament, filament, filament,out of itself;
Ever unreeling them--ever tirelessly speeding them.
And you,O my Soul, where you stand,
Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing ,--seeking the spheres,to connect them;
Till the bridge you will need, be form'd--till the ductile anchor hold;
Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O my Soul.
- Walt Whitman, A noiseless patient spider
Gravity anchors all existence on Earth.
It pulls a chaotic world to one single point in every moment of life. Even though gravity is everywhere and unending, for most of the universe, vast empty space dominates, leaving us free from gravity’s tether. Is the weightless state a moment of true autonomy or does the ungrounded body simply lose control?
In June 1965, NASA astronaut Ed White stepped out of his space capsule and walked in space for the first time. Out in the vastness, he was tethered to the space station, as if a child attached to the mother through the umbilical cord.
Inspired by the three-dimensional mobility of arachnids, Orbit Weaver uses a hand-held device to regain control of her body and move freely through a weightless space. The device shoot the string out with a magnet on the tip. Once the magnet is attached to the surrounding surfaces, the device will rewind and drag the wearer with minimal impetus due to the zero-gravity environment. With the apparatus, the wearer will be transformed into a “spider woman”, weaving her web in space.
Orbit Weaver is a series of bodily-felt explorations of the motions of an entity in the vast emptiness.
The first performance of Orbit Weaver was on November 17th, 2017 in the parabolic flight operated by Zero-G Corp. During each zero-gravity period(~20 seconds), Orbit Weaver performed the shooting and winding of strings and drag her body forward.
Apart from moving around on their webs, Spiders use this "ballooning" technique to move through the air by releasing one or more gossamer threads to catch the wind, causing them to become airborne at the mercy of air currents, and more importantly, electric currents. The spider climbs to a high point and takes a stance with its abdomen to the sky, releasing fine silk threads from its spinneret until it becomes aloft. Journeys achieved vary from a few metres to hundreds of kilometres.
OW-BODY is the hand-held devicedevice which integrates functions of shooting, and winding a string to drag its wearer through space. Once the end of the string is attached to a stable surface, the wearer can drag themselves and navigate spatially with minimal impetus due to the zero-gravity environment.
Orbit Weaver Zero-G peroformance is part of the inaugural parabolic flight launch initiated and supported by Space Exploration Initiative, MIT Media Lab.
From the article Rhapsody in Zero G :
"I care a lot about personal and artistic interests, and how they connect to technology and scientific innovation,” Xin explained. “Why do we go to space? We have a dream, and the technological challenges are what we overcome to achieve that dream. I want to be able to move freely in 3D space, so I design the technologies that allow me to do that.”