member of:Observers of the Interdependence of Domestic Objects and Their Influence on Everyday Life

This group has been active for a long time and has already made some remarkable assertions which render life simpler from the practical point of view. For example, I move a pot of green color five centimeters to the right, I push in the thumbtack beside the comb and if Mr. A (another adherent like me) at this moment puts his volume about bee-keeping beside a pattern for cutting out vests, I am sure to meet on the sidewalk of the avenida Madero a woman who intrigues me and whose origin and address I never could have known...
--Remedios Varo

(Slideshow is of Artwork by Remedios Varo)
By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.
--Franz Kafka

Saturday, July 3, 2010

You, Too, Can Float On the Breeze

wind-powered walking creatures by Theo Jansen

A short clip showing Theo Jansen's two-ton Rhinoceros Transport, on a wind-powered walk:

It's my humble opinion that if a two-ton rhino can make himself able to float on the breeze, then I can.

He has decided to take the direction of evolution into his own hands...

On a related note, a playground for all of us:
(The explanations are in French, but even if you don't understand, it shows the mechanics of the various animals and how you, the rider, control them, very well...)

These are "Les Machines de L'Ile de Nantes," all mechanical creatures, designed by François Delarozière and Pierre Orefice, that you can take a ride on, should you be lucky enough to be in Nantes.
(Wordless, but with lots of "action"...)

(All the photos of the Nantes creatures shown below were taken from the Battle Bunny Blog.)

The painter of wondrous magic, Anne Bachelier (whom I've blogged about here, in a post which includes one of Vesna's beautiful stories), sent some of her photos from a visit to see the giant creatures of Nantes in December of 2007. I am adding some below:

the eye of the beast...

here you can see where all the people ride, and how they get on...

it's really a moving house!

(the elephant sprays steam!)

(works in progress...)

Also, both Anne and Clive mention in the comments below the parade of giants which shows there in Nantes as well:

The girl is really amazing, with life-like eyes that blink, a big smile, and the tendency to dance and get sleepy. At one point in the video, she carries a child on each arm.

Thank you!!


  1. Extraordinary...made me smile...thank you :)x

  2. Incredible, a bit scary but impressive, like from the other planet!:)
    Happy Independence Day!

  3. Hello zoe

    Thanks so much for this wonderful post! I really enjoyed all of them in this page especially those fascinating youtube videos!

    PS As for your previous post, I agree with you! The artworks by Jesse E. Larson are exactly the right ones for "Alice's~"! His Mad Hatter is incredible!

  4. I meant to write and tell you that I love this and thanks for posting it... but I wanted to watch all the videos first (which I still haven't done, but am going to today). Anyway, I love these guys, and I love that the city of Nantes has just adopted them and given them a place to work... how wonderful... I wish more cities would do things like that! Did you catch the giant puppets they made for all the celebrations in Berlin a few months back? They had a big special about it on French TV... it was the first time I felt disappointed not to have a television!

  5. diane--i'm glad it made you smile :) me, too!

    zara--i also thought of aliens. they're very strange! the walking rhino is really astounding!

    jodi--i am so impressed with nantes--what a cool place! i would love so much to be able to visit something like this... i am a HUGE fan of giant puppets, and i am going to look for photos of that festival now. thanks!

  6. hello Zoé,
    look at this link...It was in Nantes last year..."la petite géante et le scaphandrier du titanic" par le Royal deluxe.

    or on Youtube search "la petite géante"


  7. We visited Nantes last year. Riding the elephant was an astounding experience. What a work of artistry it is. So much skill has gone into the machine, which is imbued with 'life'. It has a personality that brings tears to the eyes. I'd encourage anyone to visit, and especially at the time when Royal de Luxe do their annual 'event' in the town. We followed the 'Little Girl Giant' around for two days. She rode in a boat that pitched and rolled and sent up tidal waves of water as it processed through the streets. Everyone just ran with her, grinning from ear to ear and ecstatically happy. And there was giant deep sea diver too. I urge you, check the dates and GO. You won't be disappointed! A joyous experience.

  8. PS

    Zoe, it was at Nantes last year that we saw the wolves in the Castle moat! Remember?

  9. PPS

    If you like the fantastic rhino, you'll love this little horse too. And you can get it in a kit to make yourself!!!


  10. thank you, anne, for the photos and video--i have updated the post to include them....

    and clive, i'm going to have to get a little horse like that! he runs with exactly the same mechanism, doesn't he--that would be so cool to have in the house! i had forgotten it was nantes where you saw the wolves--until, of course, i saw the video. there's only one "girl" like that, i'd say!

    thank you, sapphire, i'm glad you enjoyed the post--and his mad hatter *is* fantastic, isn't it?!