La Machine is a street theatre company founded in 1999 and led by François Delarozière.  It came about thanks to artists, technicians and theatre designers working together for the construction of unusual theatre objects.  The work they develop in public spaces relates, in the first instance, to theatre, urban planning and architecture.

On Thursday, July 27th we were introduced to La Machine.  François Delarozière created this extraordinary work, drawing inspiration from the Chinese legend The Godess Nüwa. Nüwa is the creator of mankind. As the climate changes, she worries about the men she has created. She decides to send her emissary, the spirit of the Dragon-Horse, to help them and fix the sky. However, the Giant Spider, instigator of chaos, crosses Long Ma’s path and lays traps that Long Ma will have to evade…

With flags flying 

and pedestrian walk lights flashing, 

the crowd moved toward Notre Dame Cathedral where the Giant Spider, Jing Shen, was perched.  

With the setting sun, came long shadows on the front of the cathedral. 

The crowd waited with anticipation

and amazement 

Some sent messages about the event,

while others made the most of the photo opportunity.

A couple maintained their position in the crowd by sitting in one spot

and a family discussed the possibilities of what was to come. 

As the crowd grew the signs for lost children were seen high above the heads.  

When the sun started setting

the operators of the Giant Spider were lifted into the air by a crane.

As the night started to unfold, so did the operators. Once in their seats the Giant Spider descended from the rooftop of the cathedral among clouds of foam,

while the orchestra, in their aerial canopies, played on.

The following day, Friday, we were introduced to the Dragon-Horse, Long Ma.  He put his best foot forward when he entered the crowd. 

The crowd watched in amazement as he rounded the corner

The operators maneuvered Long Ma down the street as he roared and swayed among the excited crowd,  

occasionally spraying them with fluid (water) from his nostrils.

He moved along at a good pace taking the crowd with him, 

as he headed into the market area, looking directly at me as he passed - wow!

Turning the corner onto Sussex Drive, 

we were able to get a good view of some of the mechanical workings of this amazing model. 

As the story goes, the two creatures wandered the streets of Ottawa until Sunday evening where they met to battle it out.  

I had so much fun watching these two amazingly large mechanical beasts move through the streets of the city.  I wanted to go up to them to see what they were made of and how they were put together.  This was truly an enjoyable experience.  So as I wander through the pictures, I feel a new artist book with story percolating in my mind.  Possibly a good fall project.  

For now, I am working on an artist book for the Figureworks exhibit this fall.  The call was recently put out and I am hoping to have the book completed in order to respond.   

Wishing you all happy dog days of summer and a warm entry into the fall season. 



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