Henry Grabar is a staff writer for Slate’s Moneybox and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.
Move over balloon animals. There's a new game in town.
In the 12th century, Angers was home to the Plantagenets, the line that later ruled England for more than 300 years. This September, Angers was home to two giant slugs, beautiful, vibrant creatures that spent eight days ascending the gently sloped staircase to the Cathedral of Angers.
The occasion was the Accroche-Coeurs, a performing arts festival that has taken place in Angers each September since 1999. The man behind the slugs was Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, whose work more often than not invokes the Greek tradition of giant model animals hanging around cities.
Hofman strung 40,000 plastic bags along soccer nets draped over a couple of steel frames, giving his slugs a loose, fluttering skin around solid backbones. Each day, the slimy, shell-less mollusks moved closer to the sacred site, "essentially signifying their slow crawl towards death," according to Hofman's website. "The work reminds us of religion, mortality, natural decay and the slow suffocation of commercialized societies."
All images courtesy of Florentijn Hofman.