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NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore
2015.10.23 Fri - 2015.12.20 Sun
Opening Exhibition
Block 43 Malan Road Gillman Barracks Singapore 109443
T +65 6460 0300
Opening Hours
Tuesday–Sunday noon–7pm,
Friday noon–9pm
Open on public holidays
Free admission
Prof. Uta Meta Bauer

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Exhibition opening of Tomás Saraceno: Arachnid Orchestra. Jam Sessions commissioned by NTU CCA Singapore
[Press Release]

NTU CCA Singapore is pleased to present the pioneering and visionary work of artist, Tomás Saraceno for the first time in Southeast Asia. Situated at the intersection between art, architecture and science, Saraceno’s artistic practice is an articulation of a utopian vision for new forms of sustainable living and cohabitation.

Arachnid Orchestra. Jam Sessions at NTU CCA Singapore is a new production by Tomás Saraceno commissioned by the centre that brings his long-term research on spider webs into the realm of sound. The artist will use spider webs as musical instruments embodying the incredible structural properties of the spider’s silk, but also the spider’s sophisticated mode of communication through vibrations. Arachnid Orchestra. Jam Sessions is a pioneering investigation by Saraceno and his studio in Berlin that involves a range of collaborators from various universities and disciplines. The exhibition space is turned into an interactive sound and visual installation, a process-driven laboratory for experimentation that pushes the boundaries of interspecies communication.

As an extension of the exhibition, a dedicated website (www.arachnidorchestra.org) will operate as a research platform and playful hypertext of musical tuning.

Curated by Ute Meta Bauer, Founding Director and Anca Rujoiu, Curator, Exhibitions.

Public Programme

Panel discussion

Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, © 2014

Tomás Saraceno, spiderweb sonification experiments in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Hannelore Hoch and Roland Mühlenthaler, Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin, 2014. Courtesy of the artist. © Studio Tomás Saraceno.

This panel will be an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Tomás Saraceno’s new production Arachnid Orchestra. Jam Sessions at NTU CCA Singapore and how it situates in his wider investigations of spider web building and interspecies communication.

Speakers include Tomás Saraceno, artist, Argentina/Germany; Peter Jäger, arachnologist, Germany; and Elizabeth A. Povinelli, critical theorist & filmmaker, United States. Moderated by Ute Meta Bauer, Founding Director & Professor at NTU ADM, Anca Rujoiu, Curator, Exhibitions, and Magdalena Magiera, Curator, Outreach & Education, NTU CCA Singapore.

Dr. Peter Jäger received his doctorate from Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz and is current Head of Arachnology at the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, Germany. He has discovered more than 300 species of spiders and is the Co-Editor of the World Spider Catalog, the most used internet tool in the field of Arachnology.

Elizabeth A. Povinelli teaches in anthropology and gender studies at Columbia University, New York City. She was previously editor of Public Culture and a founding member of the Karrabing Film Collective. Her writing and filmography focuses on the conditions of Late Liberalism.

Date: Saturday 24 October

Time: 4.00 – 6.00pm

Venue: The Single Screen, Block 43 Malan Road

Live Performances – Jam Sessions

Structured as a series of live performances, these sessions provide a space for improvisation and interaction between arachnids and guest musicians.


Tomás Saraceno, Spider Salon: Jam session with Evan Ziporyn with Cyrtophora citricola duet on Semi social musical instrument SXDF-NB1006-2: built by four Cyrtophora citricola, eight weeks, on September 28, 2015.Courtesy of the artist. © StudioTomás Saraceno.

Jam Session #1: Live performance by arachnids and Brian O’Reilly, musician & Lecturer, LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore. Introduced by Peter Jäger, arachnologist, Germany.

For the performance, Brian O’Reilly will be using multiple instruments for different ways of interacting with the sounds generated by the arachnids. The first system is a modular synthesiser, followed by an electro-acoustic contrabass and electronic, finally gongs and cymbals also with electronic treatments. In this performance, the musician will aim for the spider sounds to directly modulate the sounds he will be producing in order to create a integrated electro-acoustic ecosystem where the sounds being performed and generated directly influence each other.

Brian O’Reilly is a Singapore-based musician and a lecturer at LASALLE’s School of Contemporary Music. He works within the fields of electro-acoustic composition, moving images, and noise music. Currently he is performing audio and visuals solo and in the groups Iron Egg & Black Zenith. ​

Dr. Peter Jäger is the Head of Arachnology at the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, Germany (refer above for full biography).

Date: Saturday 24 October

Time: 7.00 – 9.00pm

Venue: The Exhibition Hall, Block 43 Malan Road

Jam Session #2: Live performance by arachnids and Bani Haykal, artist, Singapore. Introduced by Joseph K. H. Koh, arachnologist, Singapore.

Entitled variations on hello, Bani Haykal’s performance pursues Saraceno’s idea of a feedback mechanism between spiders and humans as a form of interspecies communication. The work will incorporate a set of materials to transmit vibrations to the spiders, in the attempt that specific frequencies and rhythmic patterns will trigger a response.

Bani Haykal is a member of OFFCUFF and b-quartet, as well as the Singaporean avant rock band, The Observatory. A former Artist-in-Residence at NTU CCA Singapore, Haykal was a recipient for the Young Artists’ Award (2013) and has been selected for the 2015 President’s Young Talents exhibition currently presented at the Singapore Art Museum. ​

Joseph K. H. Koh has been documenting Southeast Asian spiders outside his previous duties as an ambassador and senior government official since 1972. His research has led to several scientific papers describing new spider species from Singapore and Brunei, a pictorial field guide of Singapore spiders (1991) and another on Borneo spiders (2014). He is currently an Honorary Research Affiliate at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum of the National University of Singapore.

Date: Saturday 7 November

Time: 4.00 – 6.00pm

Venue: The Exhibition Hall, Block 43 Malan Road

Jam Session #3: Live performance by arachnids and Joyce Beetuan Koh, musician & Vice Dean, Interdisciplinary Studies, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore. Introduced by Etienne Turpin, philosopher, Indonesia.

Joyce Beetuan Koh’s performance is informed by the image of the spider web as a sonic canvas, where the spider travels and leave traces of its musical footprints. By mapping the movements of the spider as it is constructing its web with a three-point visual capture, Koh will interpret the data set as musical articulations and create a musical score for three musicians.

Dr. Joyce Beetuan Koh is Senior Lecturer and Vice Dean of Interdisciplinary Studies at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. Her music has been performed by BBC Symphony Orchestra, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Australia Song Company, amongst others. She has participated at major festivals including Birmingham Frontiers Festival, Biennale Musiques France and Concertegbougw Netherlands.

Etienne Turpin is a philosopher and Lecturer in Architecture at UC Berkeley, California. He is a member of the SYNAPSE International Curators’ Network of the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, where he is a co-editor of the intercalations: paginated exhibition series as part of the Das Anthropozän-Projekt. He lives and works in Jakarta, where he is director of anexact office and co-director and co-principal investigator of PetaJakarta.org.