NULLI ULTIMUS (2018)
goldbeater's skin (cow appendix), lifting gas
140 x 40 x 40 cm
The gas bags of dirigible airships were usually made of goldbeater’s skin, that is the membrane of the cow’s appendix, this being the best material to reduce the leaking of lifting gases. Some ships were made entirely out of layers of appendix membrane. An airship required the appendix of hundreds of thousands of animals, while the World War required a crowd of airships.
The billion-strong cow population of today embodies a different kind of danger: the methane leaving the digestive systems of the ruminants is a major factor in global warming. There are experiments going on with cannulating the cows, driving the methane into a bag floating on their backs; methane is processed into bio-fuel. Can we fill the spirit back in the intestine?