It’s not often you see snails and lasers featured together in a video, but Snail Trail kicks down the cultural barriers that separated these two for far too long to bring the world this laser animation, projected 360 degrees onto a column. The animation, from Philipp Artus, follows a snail as it goes on an evolutionary journey—from inventing the wheel all the way back to its own origin by way of walking on two legs and swinging like a yo-yo.
And just like a real snail leaving a layer of slime across your garden path, this snail leaves a phosphorescent glow as it goes about its journey. Add to this unlikely story a brooding soundtrack from Madalena Graça and you have a kind of minimalist, sci-fi noir thing going on—about a snail.
Here’s Artus explaining the idea behind it:
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.
A GIF version of the animation