Children’s Game #31: Slakken

Pajottenland, Belgium, 2021; 5:01 min
In collaboration with Julien Devaux and Félix Blume


Snail racing is a game of unequal chances, especially when your snails are not trained champions, but randomly plucked off a wall; individual temperaments and moods count as in any sport. They are supposed to radiate out towards a circular finishing line, but one mollusc is stubbornly introverted, while another may be heartsick: its sponsor speculates that “it needs love, it hasn’t eaten much.” Several think it’s more fun to climb over each other. Little girls’ nails echo the bright blobs of paint on shells. The children’s choral twittering resolves into “Allez! Allez!” It’s a photo finish. Suddenly rain sheets down and the kids stampede, almost causing a tragedy. The racing colors wash off like smoke glowing in water.

Lorna Scott Fox

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