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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Trippy Bowls Inspired By Spiders On Drugs

Trippy Bowls Inspired By Spiders On Drugs

by Stephen Messenger

drugged up spider bowls photo

Photos via Guillaume Lehoux

Spiders are one of nature's most capable engineers, crafting their delicate webs with uncanny precision, making it seem so effortless -- but when they get high on drugs, boy is it a different story. Once, in order to test the effects of psychoactive substances on the behavior of living things, NASA doped-up several spiders and watched them build. What resulted were some undeniably trippy web patterns. Now, one designer has replicated those drug-inspired creations into some unique-looking bowls, sure to leave you a bit dazed and confused.

During the testing, several spiders were given doses from one of four different substances: marijuana, benzedrine, caffeine or chloral hydrate. Interestingly, the web patterns the intoxicated spiders then produced seemed to reflect their altered state, deviating significantly from their standard web design.

drug webs photo

Despite the rather cruel nature of those NASA experiments, French designer Guillaume Lehoux found the outcome to be fascinating and began working on the SOD_project, which of course stands for Spiders On Drugs.

The designer explains his motivation behind the project:

This experience seemed interesting to me for the visual and graphic aspects of its results. The webs produce by spiders offer something rare: a tangible and comparable visualization of the way some drugs affect the behavior of a living being.

My designer reflection focused on one side on how to reinvest the patterns of the webs of the experiment in one or more objects in volume and on the other side, the reflection was on the search for a typology of objects relevant to the environment of the experiment, namely the science/medicine, the drugs and the spiders.

web bow normal photo
The normal web (sober spider) is a dense and regular pattern. The design of the web, made of concentric circles and diagonals, seems to be governed by a general idea.
Marijuana affects concentration of the spider. Parts of the web, especially toward the outside, so late in the making of the web, are incomplete or missing.
web bowl caffeine photo
Caffeine greatly disturbs the spider which is no longer capable of doing anything other than a fully heterogeneous and disorderly web.
web bowl Benzedrine photo
Benzedrine, stimulating substance, causes great excitement among the spider. It works hard to weave his web but his haste causes significant omissions in the construction.
web bowl Chloral hydrate photo
Chloral hydrate, sedative substance, slows down the actions of the spider. It fells asleep quickly without completing the making of the web. That explains the very brief appearance of this one.
Following the spirit of the spiders' original creations, Lehoux designed his webs to 'trap' or hold things as well, finding use as fruit bowls and loose change trays. Still, I suspect they'll serve better as a conversation piece -- or a place to store your old Pink Floyd cassettes.

NOTE: Just to clarify, this post was written to showcase one artist's provocative work, the focuses of which centers on the results from a controversial series of experiments performed by NASA some years ago. It should be said that I do not condone the animal-testing that inspired these designs, nor does, necessarily, the artist. I believe that the lives of all creatures, even common spiders, should be treated with respect and dignity.