SNAIL TRAIL
laser sculpture

laser sculpture, 3 minutes, 2012
idea, animation, object: Philipp Artus
music: Madalena Graça

A snail invents the wheel and goes through a cultural evolution to finally get back to its origin.

 Setouchi Art Triennale,  Japan

Setouchi Art Triennale,  Japan

 LUMINALE, Frankfurt/Germany

LUMINALE, Frankfurt/Germany

 Visual Music Awards (Winner 1st price), Frankfurt/Germany

Visual Music Awards (Winner 1st price), Frankfurt/Germany

 LUX festival, Helsinki/Finland

LUX festival, Helsinki/Finland

Laser Sculpture

A laser animation is projected at an angle of 360° onto a column, so that the audience has to walk around to follow the course of the snail. The projection surface is of a phosphorescent material, which creates an after-glowing trail that fades out slowly.

Idea

The basic idea of the work is inspired by processes of exponential acceleration, which can be observed at different levels. Thus, the evolution of life proceeds at an extremely slow pace for more than 3 billion years, until it suddenly seems to explode in the Cambrian period. The tools of human beings progress relatively little during the Stone Age until there comes a rapid cultural development during the Holocene. Nowadays, a similar acceleration process is generated by the exchange of information through the internet. From this perspective, the exponential spiral on a snail shell may almost appear like a miraculous wink of nature.

Another theme I was interested in is the influence that a specific space has on the manner of being. In the animation each environment forces the snail to invent a new locomotion. This principle can be seen in Darwin's evolution theory, where species adapt to their surroundings, but it can also be experienced in daily life, where each environment influences our communication and behaviour.

The phosphorescent light trails offer a unique perspective on locomotion: through them, the audience can simultaneously see what happens, what has happened and what will happen. This reflection on time is elaborated further through the endlessly cycling structure of the work as well as through the recurring pulse of sound and light which refers to periodic natural phenomena like the tides or the seasons.

 

 
 SNAIL TRAIL  cycle , animated GIF with 36 frames, 2012

SNAIL TRAIL cycle, animated GIF with 36 frames, 2012

 SNAIL TRAIL  cycle , palladium light drawing, 2016

SNAIL TRAIL cycle, palladium light drawing, 2016