Parallel Minds, 149–152

Chapter

Arachne 2.0

EXCERPT

One of the most interesting issues raised by the study and synthesis of new materials concerns the relationship between nature and technology. As we have discovered, many new artificial materials are characterised by the ability to enter into relation with living organisms, to mimic the characteristics of natural materials, and to assemble into hybrid objects in which nature and technology blur and blend together. Here again we can use spider silk as a ‘model material’ to reflect on the hybridisation between nature and technology. In itself, the spider’s ability to weave its own web could be understood simply as a natural fact and put down to the difficult-to-define idea of instinct; but at the same time, the spider’s web is the technological tool the creature uses to modify the environment around it.…