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About Tarantula

Tarantula Hill's picture
Tarantula Hill (aka T Hill) is a collective based around the dyad of carly ptak and Twig Harper. Together they have created a life which brings Art into every aspect of their existence. T Hill operates as both a physical space and a conceptual space for the many projects of Harper and ptak. These projects include a venue and gallery space, a band, Nautical Almanac, a label, HereSee, a sensory deprivation tank, a recording studio, individual studio space, and much more. The building Tarantula Hill... more

Workshop Documentation

Tarantula Hill is based in community and the connections we make with others are more important than any material object we can produce. As we have travelled over the years we have had the honor to get to know many other creators and communicators. As we have travelled we have made a point to photographically document other artist's workspaces. This is often a priviledged place to visit and it can reveal many more things about the creative process than a finished piece can. The pictures below are a sampling of the many spaces we have visited over the years and throughout the world.

  • Vernon Little's Dining Room

    Vernon lives near T. Hill on the westside of Baltimore. He created the masks as well as the design on the walls. He makes work primarily in creating environments for others as a contractor.
  • Mark & Wilya's Building, Nederlands

    Mark performs as Fckn Bstrd and has a large warehouse style building in the Netherlands. The building is filled with all kinds of projects that they work on together.
  • Barabara's Doll Room

    This is from a project documentary artists that live near T. Hill on the westside of baltimore. Barbara doesn't consider herself an artist, but her whole house is decorated, as well as her yard and she is constantly changing it up. This is just one small part of her fascinating world.
  • Paperrad Living Room

    This is the sewing space that is part of Ben & Jessica's living room. Jessica Ciocci is pictured, this photo is also from 2006.
  • Jungil Hong Space

    This is a warehouse space called Hilarious Attic in Providence, RI. Jungil Hong works primarly with screenprinting but also build sculptures and ceramics. She has hundreds of plants all about her space, this is just one small area.
  • Dearraindrop Studio

    This photo is from 2009. Dearraindrop was made up of Laura Grant, Billy Grant and Joe Grillo at this time. They have a huge studio space separate from where they live in Virginia Beach, VA. This photo is only a small part of it. This allows them to create lots of work in many mediums.
  • Michael Bradford Office

    Michael Bradford created the Genesis which is a bio-entrainment system. This means that the music and energy of his machine changes as you interact with it and it reads your energy. Michael is an inventor of many such devices.
  • Tom & Barbara Screenprinting Area

    Tom Hohmann and Barbara Schauwecker lived in NYC at the time this was taken. They had a rare space to live and work in that was affordable. This is their screenprinting area, which is adjecent to the sewing area and recording studio.
  • Paperrad Desk

    Paperrad was made up of Jessica Ciocci, Jacob Ciocci and Ben Jones at the time this photo was taken in 2006. This is an image of Ben and Jessica's desk and drawing area.
  • Brian Chippendale Collage Workspace

    We met Brian Chippendale in 1996 when he ran Ft. Thunder along with Mat Brinkman and others. We did quite a bit if documentation of Ft. Thunder, but this photo is from a more recent warehouse space in 2008. Brian has quite a few work areas, this one is where he cuts up his screenprints and makes them into collages.

Nautical Almanac

Nautical Almanac has been performing since 1993. Nautical operates with a open membership and has had Harper and Ptak as the core members along with maybe 25 other artists over the years. Nautical operates on the edges of reality and does not fit into any genre of music. In the 90's and early 2000's most of the instruments used by Ptak and Harper were homebuilt or circuit bent electonics. More recently the focus has shifted to lights environments, projected videos, voice and music.

  • NA at No Fun Fest 2004

    Shot from live performance with Max Eisenberg
  • NA in Lima Peru

    Live performanc in Lima Peru
  • Instruments

    Circuit bent instruments used in Nautical Almanac from 1997-2004.
  • NA video 1994-2004 part 1

    This is a vhs tape released on HereSEe in 2004. The beginning sections was shot in T.Hill when we bought the building in 2001. The rest is clips of performances over the years, showing some of the many people that have been a part of NA
  • Transcriptedivisions LP 1999

    Back cover of an LP released in 1999. The front is made up of a pendulum drawing, each one made separately for each cover. Also a real photo of our instruments, the same as the one outlined hear. The lettering systems outlines which instruments were used in which songs.
  • Nautical Almanac at Soft House

    Twig Harper and Carly Ptak Live speaking performance at Soft Fest. Many Nautical performances are not based around music, instead letting energy flow and be mirrored back.
  • Cisum, Picture Disc 2003

    Released on the HereSee label in 2003. Different collaborator on each track. These were people we were regularly working with at the time.
  • Rolling In The Green, 2005

    Track from Cover the Earth, LP released in 2005. Max Eisenberg was a regular collaborator at this time and plays drums on this track.
  • As In Front So Behind, Live Performance Still 2008

    Nautical has focused on lights over the past 4 years.During this incarnation we back projected videos, slide projectors, overhead projectors and other lighting schemes onto a curtain placed in front of us. Shadows played a big part in our live show.

Lathecut Records

Using a 1950's record cutting machine we have used non-standard materials and celebrate non linear cutting techniques. We first started experimenting with creating homemade records in 1995 and eventually figured out by 1997 from then we have cut hundreds of records in small run editions. The records are cut on recycled plastics and dead digital media. Since we cut on strange materials each type of record has its own characteristics and each record is created to accent and compliment this. Most records have grooves with multiple weaving (so playback is never the same) locked grooves, shallow or deep cuts so that strange playback is guarenteed.

  • Nautical Almanac "Love All Ways"

    A 7 1/2" square picture disk, cut on plexiglass, edition of 16. 2010
  • Examples of Lathecut Cds

    In 1997 one of the first materials we discovered to cut record grooves on that were stable enough and free. We modified an early 1960's dictation machine to cut these.
  • Twig Harper, Untitled

    Lathecut record cut ontop of recycled plastic lid. Record has multiple passes of grooves creating a weave pattern effect in playback. Depending on the record player these records will jump and choose multiple groove paths. Edition of 10. 2004
  • Nautical Almanac , "Paper"

    Lathecut record cut ontop of wax covered cardstock. edition of 6. 2004
  • Presto record Cutting Machine

    This is the machine we use to cut records.
  • Nautical Almanac, "untitled"

    Double sided lathecut plexi glass. 2009 edition of 23
  • Twig Harper, Double Cut

    Plexiglass lathecut with 2 centerholes and multiple grooves. Even though it appears as the record grooves are a mess this is cut on 2 sides so it plays normal. Edition of 16. 2005
  • Twig Harper "Magicians Bag of Illusions"

    Plexiglass lathecut. Classic stage tricks within, loops, circles, pulling yer wool, non-linear lathecutting or just sounds that appear to be, or maybe both.... each one of these onesided clear plexi records has a different collage from vintage stage magicians catalogs. Cut on the edge so that each one may behave differently for you, start your journey in the groove. edition of 20
  • Nautical Almanac, "laser disc live"

    Lathecut record used for live performances. Grooves cut ontop of a recycled laser disk with a cut up Atco Lp used for center hole.

Idea Machine

Years of public performance led to the realization that I wanted to work in a more direct way with motivated people and I received training as a hypnotherapist. I have had an active hypnotherapy practice ( since 2007 and this work has allowed my understanding of spirituality, the subconscious and the superconscious to grow much deeper. There is a lot of crossover between my artistic and professional careers, in both of them imagination, focus on the Now, and extreme comfort are key ingredients.

During my time at Clocktower I plan on constructing and operating the Idea Machine. The Idea Machine will operate within a safe space that is outside of the influence of the surrounding city. The armature of the Idea Machine will consist of a copper Faraday cage. A Faraday cage blocks ElectroMagnetic waves by diverting and reflecting them; this includes the waves created by cell phones and towers, Wifi signals, television & radio transmission, and electric lines. Within the Idea Machine colored lights, holograms and crystals will create a special frequency that makes it easy to tune in to the Noosphere. Within this charged space I will be available to generate Ideas. If you would like for me to generate Ideas for you simply enter the Idea Machine and take a seat. There are two styles of Ideas available: Simple and Complex

Simple Idea generation is limited to words alone and the maximum time within the machine is 4 minutes.
You may present any conundrum or ask any question you would like during this time. Simple Ideas are often expressed as a set of directions or suggestions to be followed at a later time.

Complex Idea generation uses words, but it may also involve subtle energy transfers, physical manipulations, and emotional restructuring. The maximum time within the machine is 1 hr. Because Complex Idea generation is strenuous and effective it is necessary for the user to replenish the energy in the Machine by giving a gift. This gift may take any form from the material (objects, food, money, etc) to the energetic (information, services, kindness etc) and it may be given at any time from the beginning of the Complex Idea generation to within 1 month after. Complex Idea generation allows time for in-depth exploration and reorganization within a space free from outside influence."

  • Room View

    Here you can see how the video reflects off the screen of the Faraday Cage while also being projected onto the wall. This creates a doubled image.
  • Faraday Cage

    The Faraday case is a six sided enclosure which blocks out all signals from cell phones, electrical lines, and other wavelenghts. The entrance is closed off to create a safe space to generate ideas.
  • Video Image

    As you sit in the Idea Machine the video reflects all around the person in the other chair, creating an aura of pleasant and profound imagery.
  • Nail Chimes

    Many special items are placed within the cage to further charge and cleanse the energy within. These chimes jingle each time the entrance is open or the chairs shift.
  • Carly In the Machine

    The machine is activated by participation. Most sessions took place with the creator, carly ptak. During these session ideas for change were discussed and implemented.


Both Ptak and Harper are focused on expanding all types of consciousness. As such we are constantly creating devices which change energetic vibrations and often the perception of the user. These devices range from installations which must be experienced such as the Sound Bed or Machine for Space and Time, or physical objects which interact with intention such as the Actualization Apparatus or H.A.R.O.L.D.

  • Twig Harper + Peter Blasser, Paper Synthesizer

    A audio feedback grid system built with circuits soldered on paper. The circuits were designed by Peter Blasser and the interface was designed by Twig Harper. Radionic electronic device that reads your mind.
  • We'el Chart

    This is part of an intallation which is accompanied by a spinning wheel which can land on any of the seven colors. The color chart encodes the spinning forces of energy contained within the human body. To use the chart you must first ask a question relating to your Self in some way. (Ex: What part of myself could benefit from more attention?) You then spin the we'el and match the color to the chart. The information on the chart provides clues for you to experiment with as you decode the answer over time.
  • AuraChakra Sunlight Stimulator

    This piece is designed to balance and stimulate the chakras using stained glass and sunlight to emit pure color. The glass is designed to be held up to the body and the color will land on the chakras depending on where the user stands. The outside irridescent box charges the aura around the body at the same time.
  • H.A.R.O.L.D.

    H.A.R.O.L.D. HAROLD is an oracle based on the use of a chart and recorded conversations. To use HAROLD you first must formulate your question. Then flip a coin twice and match the way it lands with the top of one of the boxes on the chart. Examine the list while you listen to the tape corresponding to your color. The tapes are each 120 seconds long and full of randomized converations between two people.
  • Twig Harper, Magic Square

    Template for a magic grid radionic mandala tattoo.
  • Elixirs and Essences

    The bottom shelf is a shelf of flower essences. All essences were handmade using wildflowers, sunlight and love. Used by adding drops to water and drinking. Top shelf is elixirs made using tincture method or distillation of wild plants.
  • Sunlight Charger

    This is a piece of stained glass with a well for placing objects in. The well holds the object within a Merkaba design while exposing it to fresh sunlight. Excellent for charging crystals, totems, and intentions written on a piece of paper.
  • Twig Harper, Soundbed 2011

    A machine designed for altered states of consciousness. The bed is a hollow woodenbox with a subwoofer inside and headphones to wear. The person lies down on the bed and the soundwaves resonate with the body. The tracks use sound illusions (constantly descending + constantly ascending) and pyhtagorean harmonics.
  • Actualization Apparatus

    This was made for Showpaper in NYC. 10,000 were printed on newsprint and distributed for free. The Apparatus works by focusing on one's intention while placing hands on paper. Machine design includes radionic devices, crop circle, crystals, flowers and semantics.

Love Here

The creation of sacred space is a key element in our work. A sacred space is one that makes the viewer feel the beauty and specialness of life and a connection to all that is. We create these spaces within T Hill as energetic vortexes to keep the space safe and charged. We also create use signs with words to create such spaces in the outside world.

  • Know Where

    This is a sign posted on raw land in Florida. This is in a neighborhood and the signs were posted to protect the land from litterers or other trespassers.
  • Spirulina Center

    This is a special area of T Hill where we grow spirulina. The tanks is filled with millions of living spirals that glow with energy in the sunlight. We operate as a way to spread this living energy to others.
  • Hearts on hearts

    Another view of another part of T Hill.
  • Love Here

    This sign was painted as a gift for our friends Tom and Barbara. The sign was posted in the garden to reflect and effect the plants.
  • Pointed Vortex

    This is a special zone on the 3rd floor in T Hill. The podium contains a honey battery, large crystals and other special items which point the energy upwards. Essentially it is a broadcasting station.
  • Sacred space creates a safe place

    This is an ever changing installation here in T Hill of special items. These items are continually shifted and added to. The overall effect creates a sense of wonder and appreciation in the viewer.
  • Labyrinth

    This labyrinth was painted on the floor here at T Hill. It was painted by or artist and friend, Jen Kirby (pictured.) This is a classical labyrinth and is used for walking meditation and contemplation.
  • HERE love

    This is a sign posted on raw land in Florida. This is in a neighborhood and the signs were posted to protect the land from litterers or other trespassers.
  • Glass and Honey Battery

    This is a photo of a window here in T Hill. In it there are hunks of glass that glow special colors as the sun is setting. Also there is a honey battery. This is a device created by carly ptak for energy projection. There two alchemical processes connected to wires which wrap around the crystal at top. To charge something or send a message to the universe simply place item or words on top of crystal.
  • Google Maps image of T Hill

    This is a screen grab of the google maps image of T Hill. You will see that painted on the roof of the building in large white letters "LOVE HERE." This was painted for a number of reasons, one was to signify to aerial passers by (esp. helicopters) that there is, in fact, love here.

Tarantula Hill (the building)

The Tarantula Hill building was bought by Ptak and Harper in 2001, the first floor was a doctors office and the top 2 floors had been abandoned in the early 1970's. Renovations were done with as much as possible scarp and salvaged material. The building is the home and an living entity itself.

  • T. Hill Esoteric Library

    T.H.E.L. is open every Sunday from 12-4 and also holds workshops and lectures. This is a free lending library, there are two more walls of books not seen in this photo.
  • Show and Gallery Space

    This is a view of the floor that is open as a nonprofit venue and gallery space. To the rightt is bottle and brick bathroom, on the left wall is a screenprint show and stage hidden from view at the far left.
  • Sideways view of Building

    Turn your head on, sideways.
  • Top Bar Hive Beekeeping

    Ptak and Harper keep bees on the roof of T. Hill. In this photo they are installing bees into an experimental homebuilt top bar hive. The bees act as pollinators for West Baltimore and help more flowers and plants to grow in abandoned areas.
  • Sensory Deprivation Tank

    This is the newest addition to T Hill. Within this tank there is 800 lbs of epsom salts and 10 inches of body temperature water, allowing the user to float in silence and darkness. This is a great space for the exploration of all kinds!
  • Tank Room

    This is the room where the tank is located. It is on the first floor of T Hill and replaced where the stage used to be. It is private and warm and safe, much like the entire building.
  • Harper Studio Time

    This is the audio studio. Visiting artists are welcome to stay in the guest rooms at T.Hill while recording for a complete immersive experience. The environment is just as important as the equipment and Ptak and Harper work hard to create a welcoming and inspiring space for visiting artists.
  • Stairway

    Stairs built with tree trunks and branches and salvaged beams.
  • Roof Deck Gardens

    View from top deck to lower deck, roof gardens. all built with salvaged lumber. Beehives are to the left. Composting takes place inside with a worm composting system.
  • Bottle and Brick Wall

    Street level view of bottle, brick and mosaic wall made of mirror, tile and interesting objects.

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