User Experiences of the Serpent Mother

Some user reviews of viewing and interacting with the Serpent Mother at Robodock and at the Fire Arts Festival:-


I live on the East Coast, but on a recent sojourn to the San Fransisco area, my mother took me to the Fire Arts Festival as part of a tour of the local arts scene. I was impressed by the displays, but one in particular was remarkable: the Serpent Mother. In size alone, it was striking, but it also had an operator that controlled the head and jaws, giving the sculpture a frightening, life-like quality.
But the best time to see it in full glory was when the sun went down.

The glowing eyes that seemed to follow you and the flames thrown like venom from the fangs were thrilling! But what I liked best about the Serpent was that it was an interactive display! Festival goers could walk up to one of the supports and cause the flames issuing from the vertebrae to leap high into the air. I had to wait in line for a turn, because it was so popular an activity, but it was worth the wait. It was thrilling to be a participant in the artwork, and the quality of the construction allowed me to feel safe approaching the leaping flames.

Ever versatile, the Serpent Mother was also performance art! Once it had gathered a fair sized crowd and the line I waited in had thinned out, they
(the Flaming Lotus Girls) topped off the night by hatching the egg that the Serpent Mother was protecting with the coiled end of her tail. The
egg itself was very pretty, with scrolling copper detail, but when it cracked open, flames shot out of the
top, as if the baby inside was trying out its newborn powers. But then, the flames turned color! I
don’t know how that was achieved, but it looked marvelous,
and it was a great way to end the night.

Laurel Peyrot


Name: Hendrik Zuidhoek


i saw serpent mother on robodock (amsterdam) and i was really impressed, to me it was one of the coolest rigs there (alongsite the self proppeled traincar).When i walked across the walkway i could not believe my eyes, it was like some primeval force come to life to protect its little one.

I did see some of your collective standing near serpent mother and i wanted to convey my admiration there and then, but as you all seemed real busy i thought i’d do it by mail, so here goes: Nice job! it’s big, it’s beautiful, it’s great.


My experience of Flaming Lotus Girls most recent work, the Serpent Mother, was at this years Robodock Festival in Amsterdam. The Serpent Mother is a seductive and inviting interactive flaming installation. The most endearing quality of the Serpent Mother is the way the Lotus Girls encourage and welcome audience participation. Mounted on the legs of the Serpent Mother which hold up the stainless steel sculptured spine are a series of control panels in which the general public can operate propane driven flame throwers. In the digital and immersive age in which we now live, the Serpent Mother radiates an offering of interactivity of which I have not experienced before. The giving and open nature of the Serpent Mother merges technology and the primal, ages old activity of creating fire. The memory of seeing young children and the excitement they shared when switching flame throwers on an off will remain with me for many warm years to come.

D.V. Rogers

Nov 2007


We saw the Mother Serpent at the Crucible Fire Arts Festival in Oakland this past July.

The serpent is so big that even the audience standing around it and reacting to it becomes a part of the art performance.

We have had many conversations with the Flaming Lotus Girls about the design and construction of the Mother Serpent and sent a donation to help with the cost of sending the Serpent to Robodock. We saw the serpent during daylight hours before the official show and again at night.

During the day we got to see how things were put together by this creative collaboration of artists, geeks, and engineers. At night we got to see the Spectacle of the fire, light, sound, movement and color.

In the daylight, we could see the work that went into each of the spinal elements, articulated head and egg.

It was designed with audience interaction control stations. At several points along the spine an audience member could control the 6 gas puffers on the surrounding segments. Sometimes an audience member needed to be encouraged to push the buttons. Sometimes they were very nervous, but people seemed to get over any fear or hesitation and enjoy the experience of being part of the art.

Richard and Marilyn Hobbs


“I attended the 2007 Fire Arts Festival in Oakland with my boyfriend and about 1,000 children. OK, only four.

They ranged in age from ten to 14. By far the most gorgeous, awe-inspiring work of art there was the Serpent

Mother. It completely terrified the ten year old until he got up close and realized that you could actually control

the plumes of fire erupting from the vertebrae by pressing buttons. Finally, fire power! The interactivity,

the sheer hugeness, and the beauty of the workmanship,particularly the head, which was frighteningly lifelike

and mobile, impressed us immensely. That it was created by a bunch of girls was icing on the cake!”

-Hope that helps!

Kira a O’Day


Gibraltar, December 10th 2007.The Serpent Mother @ Robodock 2007
By: Suwanne Jo

I was involved with the Robodock-2007 festival for about 4 weeks, since I was in charge of the backstage-bar.

Because of that I didn’t see that much of the actual festival, but when I was able to sneak out of my bar I always included a quick peak at the site of the Serpent Mother.

I found the Serpent Mother to be the most beautiful and majestic installation in the entire festival, by far.

Even more so because the Serpent Mother installation had a different feel every single time I visited her. She managed to inspire numerous peoples of the public and Robodock artists alike!

What I especially liked about the Serpent Mother installation are the control-buttons which allow members of the public to play with her.

The weather during Robodock was at times quite cold, so standing in the middle of the Serpent Mother installation was very warming and comforting!!!

Personally I think that Robodock 2007 for most peoples will be primarily associated with the magnificent Serpent Mother installation.

Please do support the Flaming Lotus Girls on their world-tour with their Serpent Mother!



Here in the Netherlands, Amsterdam at Robodock I have seen the Serpent Mother for the first time. However the first time I had heard about the project was in the mountains of Spain. The description of the person describing the Serpent Mother was “an absolute grand phenomenon in Arts and Mechanics, reflecting the passion of a new

generation of artists that work in groups, rather than alone”. Friends from France came specifically to visit me in Amsterdam to see the Serpent Mother as they had also heard about its excistence. It is apparent that the Serpent Mother has become a legend even since the short time of her existence!

On a personal note- it is absolutely only on rare occasions that a small group of people will observe one object for more than a minute. At Robodock, the entire crowd watched the Serpent Mother thirty or more minutes without talking, blinking or hardly any physical movement.


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