Snail Trail (2012)

SNAIL TRAIL is a cross media project including two complementary versions of the same animation: 1. an installation "Snail Trail: Laser Sculpture", which was a finalist at the Vimeo Awards 2012: 2. a shortfilm, which just premiered at Cartoon Brew's online festival: Both projects are complementary: while the laser sculpture can only be experienced in a real physical space, the short film is made for virtual online distribution.

Full Description

Installation: In the installation 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.

Film version: For the short film I projected the animation with a laser on a phosphorescent material and recorded it frame by frame with Dragon Stop Motion.The reason I chose to project real laser light is because I wanted to give the snail an energetic and natural feeling. There is a unique beauty about analogue media, which one cannot achieve with digital rendering methods. And of course “the medium is the message”.

The SNAIL TRAIL PRESSKIT with additional information can be downloaded at:

If you have any questions or requirements feel free to contact me. Best, Philipp

Work metadata

  • Year Created: 2012
  • Submitted to ArtBase: Friday Sep 21st, 2012
  • Original Url:
  • Work Credits:
    • phil_artus, primary creator
  • Collective: Installation Music by Madalena Graça
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Artist Statement

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

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