Minor Python
a-field, Heide Museum of Modern Art x Centre for Projection Art, 2022

A snake never blinks. It sees through lidless eyes covered by a transparent scale. A python’s jaw unhinges in order to ingest prey many times its size. It smells through a flickering forked tongue and hears through its skin. Such uncanny abilities associate the snake with terrifying variance and forces that galvanise the human verses nature divide.  

Minor python is a projection that turns fears of otherness into a visual experience of cross-species companionship. We see a detail of a young woman entwined with an adolescent female carpet python. The snake intimately coils and spirals around her. Their bond requires trust: the woman has faith that the snake will not strike or constrict, and the python relaxes in her presence, confident that she will not inflict harm.

An encounter with reptiles can induce fear in any unwary wanderer. A simple S-shape may conjure culturally entrenched serpentine symbolism, emblematic of malevolent danger, mythologies, deities and sacred beings. Minor python, however, tells a story of kinship and interspecies connectivity.  

The young performers relate to one another through touch and texture, as their projected bodies undulate across the cold naked vines of a silverback fern on a midwinter night. By linking flesh upon flesh this work inverts the human vs nature divide, seeing both equally vulnerable when in a state of coming of age.

Commissioned by Heide Museum of Modern Art and the Centre for Projection Art 

Video excerpt of performers Bella Choat and carpet python, Aurora.

A Russian doll projection, installation detail, at Heide MoMA. 

July, 2022