© 2015

Benzedrine photo:Sibila Savage

Under the Influence

burned vellum in 2-sided aluminum frames
6 drawings, 48" x 36" each

These are the same spiderwebs in Solar Burn, derived from a 1948 experiment in which spiders were dosed with stupefacients, amphetamines, stimulants, and hallucinogens. For some reason, NASA conducted this same experiment again in 1996, so I decided to redraw them as well, this time at twice the size and for a specific site.

As withSolar Burn, the webs of Under the Influence were drawn using a magnifying glass in the sun, burning the traces of spider silk into translucent vellum. They were created for the exhibit Natural Discourse at the UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens, curated by Mary Anne Friel and Shirley Watts. They were installed at the Arid House, which is a large aluminum-framed greenhouse housing plants that harbor some of the same substances as Witt’s pharmacology.

The drawings were encased between two sheets of perspex, held in aluminum frames similar to the greenhouse, and mounted such that they fit seamlessly into the architecture. As a magnifying glass is an imperfect drawing tool, each web has hundreds of tiny holes burnt along its lines. This enabled the sun to shine directly through these holes, giving the visual appearance of dew sparkling on spider silk.

Caffiene photo:Sibila Savage
Mescaline photo:Sibila Savage
LSD at Natural Discourse in the Arid House, UC Botanical Gardens
Marijuana photo:Sibila Savage
Chloral hydrate photo:Sibila Savage
LSD photo:Sibila Savage
grateful for the California sun