Back in the 1990s, when House of Marbles took over a semi-derelict site in Bovey Tracey, bringing life back into its walls and making any number of repairs, there were already thoughts on how to make the buildings even more individual than its history had already provided. An artist named Alex Schmid was invited to build a variety of bespoke marble runs utterly unique to us (to be found within the site’s marble museum today), and an inkling of an idea began.
In true artisan fashion, the creator of these engineering mini-masterpieces moved into the site temporarily during the design of what he planned to be the largest installation. After spending six months creating elements of the marble run in his workshop in Switzerland, Schmid requested unfettered access 24/7 to the Bovey Tracey site to allow the creative juices to flow over the course of several weeks.
Although no firm plans were in place as to how what the finished article might look like, Schmid knew that he would use Snooker Balls in place of marbles; the finished piece is a result of working with the space available over a series of weeks living to hand, rather than from a detailed plan created ahead of installation, with much of the final product credited to his exchanges and influences with staff at the time.
By working with the space available, the skilled artist created the finished article that is here for all to enjoy today. Complete with a Newton’s Cradle, bell ring, loop-the-loop, funnel, and more; the run takes a full 30 mins to see all aspects of the run used. Schmid likens Snooki 2000 to life, with all its ups and downs, and suggests onlookers seek out the differentiated stories contained within it. Unlike many of life’s momentous occasions, however, it can be set off on its trajectory at any time by simply pressing the button (made from a snooker ball itself!) situated on the handrail in front of the opposite viewing platform.
Most strangely, though, is not HOW Snooki was created but the strange effect she seems to have had on the many people who have seen her. Other than being so very rare to see a marble run not of your own making (let alone one on this scale), visitors of various ages from over the years recall tales of seeing Snooki as a child, even when it was not built until 2000 and so far more modern than would have allowed this to be possible for many. Perhaps the pull of nostalgia made them think it must have been from those formative years. Still, in any case, we feel very honoured that so many of our guests over the years have re-written moments of their childhood to include House of Marbles.
So, just one last question remains: Have you seen Snooki Run?
If you haven’t why not view our video of Snooki on You Tube? Click HERE.