American Silkworm Series Part I: Silkworm Book 在美国养蚕系列一: 蚕书
1994

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Institution: Massachusetts College of Art, Boston
Materials: Mixed media installation / Live silkworms and books.

Every summer since 1994, Xu Bing has undertaken a project in the United States involving the raising of live silkworms. Together, these projects constitute a single, ongoing series. In Silkworm Books, silkworm moths lay their small black eggs on the blank pages of open books. The thousands of black egg-markings create a "printed text" evoking the strange script of some mysterious, secret language. At the opening of the installation, the eggs are already very close to hatching. In the days following, as the eggs hatch the text is altered and dissipated as the black dots gradually disappear and transform into thousands of squiggling black lines (the young silkworms) that proceed to crawl out from between the pages of the books, startling the viewer confronted with these strange volumes.