Ouroboros: Installing a cycle of hope

11 June 2015

“It slays, weds, and impregnates itself.
It is man and woman, begetting and conceiving,
devouring and giving birth, active and passive,
above and below, at once.”
- Erich Neumann

The Ouroboros has its roots in ancient Egyptian mythology. It is both grace and guillotine, the arbiter and eater of its own fate. It could be a symbol of our own circular fruitlessness, or a latent recognition of cycles; of narratives and testaments.

When Singapore-based UK artist Nicola Anthony decided to create a public sculpture of the Ouroboros, she reached out to over 5,000 school kids to write their own personal aspirations and positive messages on ping pong balls. 

Nicola at Yu Neng Primary School  on International Friendship Day. Photo copyright Nicola Anthony.

The process is similar to other installations that Nicola has done; creating something large out of a multitude of small objects. Her last installation involved going around Singapore collecting saga seeds. She harvested 9,000 of them.

This time, using more than 11,500 ping pong balls, Nicola built an Ouroboros of hope; a winding, modern frame that celebrates life, moving from a neat, organised flux into a chaotic continuum, thousands of voices punching out ideas of ideals.  

Just like snowflakes, each ping pong ball looks the same from a distance, but rest each one onto the tip of your questions and you’ll find them startlingly original in their aspirations.

The Ouroboros is part of Torch Up! a series of 30 community artworks created by local artists in collaboration with various communities to commemorate the 28th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Singapore.

Ouroboros is now on display at Marina Bay Sands until 4 July 2015.

Unless otherwise stated, all photos and text by Marc.