John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
A German art show channels 1950s horror flicks with gigantic, scurrying spiders.
Here's one building you wouldn't want to enter without a 40-foot-long rolled-up newspaper.
Inside a clinical white room in Saarbruecken, Germany, a pair of shadowy, multilegged creatures scurry back and forth. They scale the walls and poke at the corners almost as if with anger, searching for an escape from their urban prison. Pedestrians gawking from the street at the pair of monstrosities must wonder: How strong are those windows? (Bystanders who don't fear-gag in the presence of horse-sized arachnids might also think: Could I ride them?)
The flesh-prickling spectacle was created by Friedrich van Schoor, who describes himself as a "3d Generalist and Motion Design Freelancer / Art Student." In what must be a bit of fun, he titled the piece Araneola for the Latin word for "small spider." While I wouldn't want to confront spiders this "small" without first fashioning a crude blowtorch with a lighter and can of Raid, the installation did indeed begin with a normal-sized arthropod. Van Schoor built a model room with a single caged crawler and filmed it exploring its environment. Then he doubled up his footage to create spidery twinsies, and projected it onto the walls of a second-story room with generous-sized windows.
It's a punishing experience for folks wanting to indulge in comfortable voyeurism, but a thrill for fans of 1950s fright flicks featuring bulked-up bugs. The live action starts around 1:30; take a look: