Venom:Killer & Cure at The Natural History Museum


– Audio-visual installations both unsettling and fascinating, to entice viewers into the Venom:Killer and Cure exhibition by playing on the psychology of the unknown.


The Natural History Museum commissioned SDNA to create two audio visual installations exploring the fear and attraction to venom.

● Intro installation 1 – Twitch and Scuttle

As visitors approach the entrance to the exhibition, they glimpse fragmented images of giant shadows, instantly recognisable as something non-human, something ‘other’, but not immediately definable. The fragmented shadows disappear and and reappear, move in erratic and unpredictable ways, are dark and angular in appearance. They have the characteristics many people associate with sinister creatures they don’t really understand, yet also find fascinating. Every so often a giant venomous creature walks across the screen. The imagery was created using live spiders, centipedes, assassin bugs and a scutigera placed in specially designed perspex boxes with hand made latex fronts. Different lighting effects were used, designed to cast giant shadows, reveal close up details, textures and silhouettes of the animals. Sounds were be recorded from the box using sensitive microphones, which were then amplified and heightened through sound-effects.
The scale and movement of the images and the sound of of creeping and scratching generate feelings of fear and and anxiety, but also arouse visitors’ curiosity, encouraging them to move on to find out more…

● Intro installation 2 – Envenomation

The second installation features the shadow of a huge spider lurking behind the screen. As visitors walk down a dark corridor a sensor is triggered and the spider leaps into action: its fangs pierce the screen and release their venom represented by immersive images and sounds. As they move closer to the screen the sound of a heartbeat accelerates the yellow venom swirls and reacts to their movement.