Trinity Arachnodrone Concert

Old Member
30 January 2021 18:00-19:30

The spider as an artist

Has never been employed

Though his surpassing merit

Is freely certified

                                Emily Dickinson

Arachnodrone, an original concert performance by Grammy-award winning composer Evan Ziporyn and Christine Southworth, 2021 Trinity College Artists-in-Residence.

Watch again

Arachnodrone/Spider's Canvas was inspired by artist Tomás Saraceno, both for his own spider-based work with Studio Saraceno and for his ongoing collaborations with Professor Markus Buehler and the MIT Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering.  A/SC was commissioned by Saraceno and premiered at his carte blanche exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, in November 2018.  Additional support was provided by the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (Leila Kinney, Executive Director; Evan Ziporyn, Faculty Director).

An arresting improvisational work, Arachnodrone invites listeners to immerse themselves in the unique sensory domain of spiders, providing never-before explored insights into the tiny worlds of invertebrate architecture that they inhabit.  At the heart of Arachnodrone is a high-tech sonification of the intricate geometry and three-dimensional structure of spider-websIn the hands of Ziporyn and Southworth, the Arachnodrone cube becomes a unique virtual instrument with 1,700 stringsAs Ziporyn explains, as we movethrough the virtual web . . .  our proximity to particular strings sends . . . sonic information which is sculpt[ed] in real-time . . . This interaction between humans and the spider offers a path to communicate through vibrations” – the very same vibrations spiders use to communicate with each otherThe sounds are ethereal and otherworldly, simultaneously profoundly alien and intimately familiar.

The concert will be introduced by Luke Lewis, who is a Stipendiary Lecturer in Music at New College in Oxford. 

Since completing studies with Hans Abrahamsen at the Royal Danish Academy of Music and his DPhil at Christ Church, alongside teaching at New College Luke has been active as both a composer of concert music and arranger/orchestrator in the pop world, most notably recently arranging the music for and conducting an orchestral concert with Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes at the Sheldonian Theatre.

Arachnodrone / Spider's Canvas
Created and Performed by
Ian Hattwick - Sonic Design / Live Sound Processing (
Christine Southworth - Video & Visual Design / Guitar (
Isabelle Su - Spiderweb Modeling & Interface Design / Live Video Processing (
Evan Ziporyn - Sound Design / EWI (

Cuco Daglio - Sound Engineer
Robby MacBain - Videography
Danna Solomon -  Producer

More about the performers:

  • Dr Evan Ziporyn is the Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Director of MIT's Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST). A Grammy award-winning composer and musician, Ziporyn has collaborated with a wide range of artists, from symphony orchestras to Balinese gamelans.
  • Christine Southworth is an American musician and composer of post-minimal music. She is the co-founder of Ensemble Robot, a consortium of engineers, artists and musicians dedicated to experimenting with robotic musical instruments. Southworth’s music frequently incorporates the innovative fusion of traditional world-music forms with technology and electronics. Her award-winning compositions have been performed throughout the U.S., Europe, and Indonesia.
  • Isabelle Su recently received her PhD from the Laboratory for Atomistic and Molecular Mechanics at MIT, working under the supervision of Prof. Markus Buehler. Her research aims to understand the interplay between silk mechanics and structural mechanics of webs and its role for completing their natural functions. She is also interested in data sonification, translating structural and mechanical data of complex 3D spider webs into music as a visualization method through sound. Isabelle previously received a Master’s degree in Building Engineering at ESTP as well as a M.Eng. in Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT in 2015.
  • Ian Hattwick is an artist, researcher, and technology developer whose work focuses on the creation and use of digital systems for professional artistic performances. With a background in music composition and performance, he is particularly interested in use of multimodal hardware systems to explore and facilitate social and embodied interaction. He received his Ph.D. from McGill University and holds degrees from the University of California, Irvine and the University of Southern California. He is a lecturer of Music Technology at MIT.