I’ve visited France. Seen the Mona Lisa, Hector Guimard’s amazing art nouveau subway entrances and the gothic Notre Dame cathedral. Now France visits Think Artificial: The city of Nantes, birthplace of science fiction pioneer Jules Verne, is the host of a machine art exhibit titled Les Machines de l’Ile (Island Machines); a collection of mechanical oceanic animals. See the amazing artwork after the jump.
The machines are the creation of artists François Delarozière and Pierre Orefice, inspired by Jules Verne and the industrial history of the city. During times of exhibition, the machines awaken periodically by the virtues of the cogs & gears and can be ridden (see links below for videos). The exhibit is located in renovated warehouses at the docks of Ile de Nantes and will remain as a permanent installment.
This is the kind of inspiration I would’ve loved to see as a kid. Thankfully I had access to a lot of books, some of which contained intricate mechanical artwork — but the Icelandic art exhibits were hardly at par with the Island Machines. I’m happy for the kids that get a chance to visit this exhibit.
The following pictures are courtesy of Claude Joannis, who receives a nice hat tip and thanks for contributing these to Think Artificial.
There’s a Lantern Fish in the Shadows
(Le Luminaire Des Grands Fonds)
I love this one. The combination of innocence and razor sharp machines rarely fails to inspire.
The Manta Ray (Les Raie Manta)
The Pirate Fish (Poisson Pirat)
The Reverse-Propelling Squid (Le Calmar Géant à Rétropropulsion)
The Crab Larva (La Larve De Crabe)
Pictures of the Crab Larva are apparently rare, as the organizers didn’t have an image of it themselves. It looks like an interesting design.
The next four images are courtesy and copyright ©Nautilus-Nantes. My thanks to the organizers of Les Machines de L’ile Nantes. Click on the images to see larger versions.
The Manta Ray
The Reverse-Propelling Squid
Lantern of the Depths
More Artwork in Nantes
In addition to the machines depicted above, the artists also created a 12m high and 8m wide mechanical elephant weighing 45 tonnes. There’s also a plan to create a steel tree that’s 45m (147ft.) in diameter and 28m high (92ft.), topped by two herons. Visitors will be able to ride in circles on the bird’s wings and walk bridges from branch to branch.
I didn’t include pictures of these mainly because the designs didn’t have the same aesthetic appeal as the others, but you can see some on Claude’s Flickr page.
Links & References
- François Delarozière and Pierre Orefice (La Machine, art group site)
- Les Machines de l’ile, Official site
- Video of the Nantes squid moving, video of the Nantes Elephant (YouTube)
- Video search for the Machines of Nantes
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