KÄÄRME SUOJELEE

THE GUARDIAN SNAKE

XIX Mänttä Art Fair, 2014

Not too long ago people in Finland used to live together with snakes. These housemates were non-venomous grass snakes (Natrix natrix) keeping the surroundings of the house clean of mice, voles and baby vipers. More importantly they were creatures connected to the spirit world, taking care of the well being of the whole farm and especially the livestock. For their services they were rewarded with milk and the first crop. In some areas these magical snakes would also get the first drops of mother's milk. If the "milk worm" wasn't properly maintained it would put a spell on the house: cattle would fall, cows would milk blood and even human lives were in danger.

There are three silos in front of the Pekilo Art Centre. One of them will have a snake figure on it's windows. It's there to welcome the visitors and to protect the exhibition. It's skin is made out of advertisement residue. When the summer's gone the creature will disappear.