Friday, September 8, 2017

Along Came One Really Big Spider

To borrow a phrase from Captain Jack Sparrow... "Hello, Beastie."

There was a big event here on the last weekend of July called La Machine. Today I'm kicking off a series looking at it in detail, and starting with the antagonist of the event. La Machine is a company from France that specializes in urban theatre, with giant machine animals moving through the streets and interacting with the environment itself while telling a story- of a dragon horse whose wings and temple have been stolen by a spider. Two machines stalked the streets of Ottawa that weekend, in a variety of settings in a story called The Spirit Of The Dragon Horse: The Stolen Wings. Both machines featured a team of operators and musicians during walkabouts, and during the lead-up to walkabouts and confrontations, it was a delight to see the crowd applauding the arrival of those teams. I caught both machines in several locations over the weekend, which opened up with one event I missed- the giant spider Kumo descending Notre Dame Basilica. Here, on the second day of the event, a Friday, I found Kumo in a restful state outside the Ottawa Convention Center. This was before a big confrontation with the protagonist, who was at that time at rest over at City Hall. That confrontation took place at the Laurier Bridge south of here.

The following morning, Kumo was at rest again in the Byward Market, where many people were taking a chance to have a look at her. The numbers: at rest like this, she's 5.7 metres high, 6 metres wide; when fully stretched, she can span twenty metres. Her opponent was a street away at this time, also at rest. We'll have a look at him tomorrow.


  1. Hello, Beastie, indeed! This is one incredible sight, and an amazing event. Is there no end to interesting things in Ottawa?

  2. Urban theatre is a great way to bring people together. But, that spider is pretty menacing!


  3. @Kay: I have been looking forward to the responses on this series!

    @Marleen: especially when standing.

    @Francisco: thank you.

    @Tom: indeed!

    @Janis: it is!

  4. What a fun creature to watch and then when it's a protagonist in a stor, all the better.

  5. Wow! I would have to watch that from a distance.

  6. I don't even like tiny spiders so I'll give the big one a wide berth!

  7. Oh, great! First it was Harvey. Then it was Irma. So now it's giant spiders. Aarrgghh!

  8. I was surprised to see that it was made up of wooden pieces! Such fun!

  9. What a scary looking creature to see on the streets.

  10. Arachnophobes of Ottawa must have been terrified!! But I find it fantastic fun!

  11. Greetings, my friend! Love your photos. That is one rather fearsome spider!

  12. @Red: it was an amazing event to take in.

    @Linda: it is!

    @Lois: much more to come!

    @Jenny: I enjoyed seeing this one!

    @Revrunner: wait til you see the other one!

    @RedPat: yes, wood, steel, and wiring.

    @Sharon: it was magical, watching these two.

    @Christine: it really caught our imagination.

    @Lowell: thank you!

  13. How bizarre. Or as an acquaintance from long ago used to say: beeeee-zarrrrrr.

  14. Absolutely fascinating what people can dream up. Can you just imagine the shock of someone who didn't know about the exhibit, if they saw this coming down the street?

  15. Now that's a big spider! Nice series of photos.

  16. Oh My goodness.... so want to be there !

    cheers. parsnip

  17. A huge beastie for a knight or magician to dispatch. What fun.

  18. @Catalyst: and they say Ottawans can't have fun.

    @Denise: that would be a shock!

    @Bill: it was fascinating to take in this event.

    @Parsnip: just wait til you see the dragon horse!

    @Mari: it was a delight to see.

  19. Kumo is quite the spectacle, William, and I too have never seen any urban art like this. I wondered how long the beast would be round and how long the confrontation would take and whether or not it would be repeated in another part of the city.

  20. A terrible spider ... hopefully it will not be received at night ..
    Just joke, this is fantastic spider.

  21. Looks like something that should be fighting Godzilla!

  22. Funny, when I think back, a lot of my young male students wanted to be game creators when they grew up. Swore they didn't need maths!

  23. @Beatrice: the two beasties ranged around many of our landmarks during the four days they were here.

    @Orvokki: it is!

    @Norma: it felt like a Godzilla movie at times.

    @Klara: it's quite a beastie!

    @Jennifer: I figured it didn't hurt to add the numbers!

  24. Now that really does look big!
    Great photo's.

    All the best Jan