Exploring boundaries
by piercing barriers

2.6g 329m/s is the performance standard for bulletproof vests, the maximum weight and velocity of a .22 calibre Long Rifle bullet from which a Type 1 bulletproof vest should protect you.


Increased exposure to violence through news and other sources of (social)media manipulate our feeling of safety. Giving rise to a culture of fear. The individual and even society can be driven by this feeling to make irrational responses to imaginary threats.

With ‘2.6g 329m/s’, also known as ‘bulletproof skin’, Essaïdi explores the social, political, ethical and cultural issues surrounding safety in a world with access to new biotechnologies – by reinforcing in vitro human skin with spider silk from genetically modified organisms in order to stop a speeding bullet.

2.6g 329m/s
Bulletproof skin
Spider silk thread is relatively much stronger than steel and can even be made by a living being. Woven it would be capable to resist the impact of a bullet, much like a bee on the spider’s web. If human skin would be able to produce this thread, would we be protected from bullets? Together with the Forensic Genomics Consortium Netherlands Jalila Essaïdi takes the acid test: by implanting transgenic spider silk in the human skin and letting a bullet do its work.

With this work Essaïdi wants to show that safety in its broadest sense is a relative concept, and hence the term bulletproof. The work did stop some bullets but not those at full speed. With a “bulletproof skin” pierced by bullets the experiment leads to the conversation about how which forms of safety would benefit society.


Essaidi, J., Van Trier, G.J. (Eds.). (2013). Bulletproof Skin, Exploring Boundaries by Piercing Barriers, Jalila Essaidi.

Essaidi, J., Blomjous, M., Oei, L., (Eds.) (2013). Kogelwerende huid: spinnenzijde afkomstig van genetisch gemanipuleerde organismen en menselijke huid, Studies in textiel 1, Amsterdam, (pp. 224-231).

Kleinenberg, R. (2013). Biobased Chemicals: spinnende geiten, IA Special Bio Based Economy in Nederland, (pp. 94).

Fortune, S. (2013, July). BioShock, Dazed & Confused Magazine, 23(3), 84-87

Essaidi, J. (2012). 2.6g 329m/s [Weblog]. jalilaessaidi.com

Ramaer, J. (2011, June 23). Kogelwerende huid als kunst, De Groene Amsterdammer, 135, 48-52.