Don’t you ever wish that you could clap yours hands and make all the noise in the city disappear? Unfortunately, the technique doesn’t work with people, but it most certainly does with serpents. The shallow canals behind the Hortus Botanicus are full of them. They wait patiently until it’s quiet, and then quickly appear from the depths, like frogs that only start to croak when they feel safe. They slither across the ground like underwater glow worms until someone along the side of the canal claps or yells. Then they scurry away, back into the warm sludge that is their hiding place.
Sneaky Serpents is an installation by Tropism, a collective made up of six artists. Last year the collective took over the Hortus Botanicus with the exhibition Photosynthesis. This winter their sneaky serpents (or tubes with computer-controlled LED lights) find their way beyond the walls of the gardens.
Some people will shriek upon seeing the serpents slither through the water, only to frighten the serpents and cause them to disappear. Others will wait silently, enjoying the movements in the water as though a party was taking place under the surface of the water.