stort utställningsrum med ormskelett

The Snake and the Island – when Art Takes Hold of the City

What happens when art invites us to redesign our shared urban spaces? How does it affect the future and the way in which we experience the spaces? The exhibition takes you on a  journey through lines of thought on the artworks Future Island and Rainbow Snake.

An exhibition in two parts

Future Island by OOZE (Eva Pfannes and Sylvain Hartenberg) Marjetica Potrč
17 Sep 2023–30 Jan 2024, the Workshop (Verkstan)

Rainbow Snake by artist Huang Yong Ping
26 Sep 2023–30 Jan 2024, the Studio (Ateljén)

The exhibition presents the development process of two projects of a great temporal and spatial scale. In their different ways, they take hold of two urban landscapes – a university campus and a new railway station – in two rapidly expanding Swedish cities, Stockholm and Gothenburg. In the gallery we encounter the artists’ ideas through their sketches, models and vision images, which, together with documentation and filmed interviews, visualise the artistic processes that form the basis for how art develops as cities grow.

Future Island

Emerging in a stream at Albano at Stockholm University, Future Island is a living artwork. The island is divided into two zones, one of which is sustainably heated to be five degrees Celsius warmer than the other. The changes that occur over time will demonstrate the impact of climate change on nature. Located in a stream in the park, the 325-square-metre large island has been built of local stones, thus addressing the history of the site. The stones symbolise and express that which has been and still exists underground in the area. Future Island is a site in which history and the future cooperate – a place where 1.8-billion-year old stones face an uncertain future.

Rainbow Snake

In one of Sweden’s largest infrastructure developments, the West Link in Gothenburg, a 320-metre-long python skeleton is taking shape, above and below ground – at a bicycle entrance, through the various subterranean spaces, in the park and across the platforms. Rainbow Snake will meander through the Haga station, connecting the urban subterranean spaces with the ground and the city above, reminding us of the layers of history under our feet.

Currently the most extensive art projects

Future Island and Rainbow Snake are currently Public Art Agency Sweden’s most extensive projects. Public Art Agency Sweden has been working on the projects since 2014. The artistic processes and visualisations show various stages of the implementation of the works. In dialogue with different actors, they are important steps in the design of our shared urban spaces. The projects have been realised thanks to art being involved as an integral element in the planning stage of the design of the sites.

Future Island was inaugurated in September 2023 at Albano at Stockholm University. Rainbow Snake will form part of Gothenburg’s infrastructure and the planning of the production is underway. The artist Huang Yong Ping (b. 1954, Xiamen, China – d. 2019, Paris, France) died during the process but the completion of his work is ongoing.

Future Island was commissioned by Akademiska Hus and Public Art Agency Sweden.

Rainbow Snake was commissioned by the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) and Public Art Agency Sweden.