Sputniko! Creates Silkworm With Effects Akin To Mythological ‘Red String of Fate’
In East Asian myths, the gods tie a ‘Red String of Fate’ or 運命の赤い糸 (unmei no akai ito) between those destined to fall in love. The idea is that couples are connected by an unseen red thread, usually depicted as being tied around the pair’s pinkies. In 2016, thanks to mathematician-turned-artist and MIT professor Sputniko!, a silkworm that spins such a red string recreating Japanese mythologies with a scientific modern update.
Melding traditional Japanese religious symbols with contemporary music (and science), her new song “Red Silk of Fate – Tamaki’s Crush” tells the story of a young scientist who modifies a silkworm to produce silk that will make her crush fall in love with her.
Featuring lyrics and vocals by Sputniko! and music by Japanese producer Ram Rider, the music video appeared online today and is quickly racking up the views. It also features a central performance by Runa Natsui as the love-lorn scientist who retreats to a Shinto shrine to conduct experiments and Sputniko! as Sachihiko John Yamada, the hottest geneticist in the lab.
But get this, the process described in the song is based on actual work done by scientists at Japan’s NIAS, the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences. As in the video, the scientists created a silkworm that produces silk that contains oxytocin, described by Sputniko! as “a social-bonding ‘love’ hormone,” and “the genes of a red-glowing coral.”
While the real-life red silk likely won’t procure the same effect as seen in the video, you’ll be happy to know this isn’t a one-off deal. Sputniko! mentioned plans to produce more of the silkworms, possibly to sew the silk into omamori (protective amulets sold at Shinto shrines and some Buddhist temples) and will be available at Toshiba 8 Million Lab. The 8 Million Lab, which was conceived of by Sputniko!, is the first shrine devoted to worshipping a genetically modified animal, the silkworm’s that produce the Red Silk of Fate.