A Spider Experiences The Dark Side of the Moon
How might a being that experiences a radically different sensory reality perceive an iconic human artifact? A Spider Experiences the Dark Side of the Moon invites viewers to imagine the intense otherness of inhabiting the sensing body of a spider, as it physically and sonically explores Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon.
Recent research shows that jumping spiders, like the Salticus scenicus in this film, can hear across significant distances—something previously unknown to science. But unlike human beings, spiders hear by way of hundreds of fine hairs, which humans call trichobothria. Scattered across their articulated bodies, each hair functions as a single fully independent ear. Kirkbride’s score for the short film builds on excerpts of five tracks from Dark Side, each undergoing a discrete attempt to acoustically manipulate and reshape the original as if heard through these hundreds of shimmering, vibrating spider “ears”.
Spiders, subject of many human nightmares, do not exist to frighten us. They live their own lives and experience their own umwelt, or circle of conscious concern. Members of Pink Floyd have said The Dark Side of the Moon deals with the themes of alterity, empathy and unity. How can our own perceptions be expanded by imagining ourselves as this tiny voyager—experiencing this iconic human artifact as if it were in fact the vast surface of a remote moon?
This work is a collaboration with artist Jenny Kendler.