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The Machine-Animals of Nantes

Your Essential Steampunk Stable & Garage
French city of Nantes recently became host to extremely strange and fascinating sculptural display: "Les Machines de l'Ile Nantes", designed by François Delarozière and Pierre Orefice.
Claude Joannis has a few photographs that'll give you some idea about how extraordinary cool this exhibition is (the first on my list of museums to visit, if possible!)

The Mechanical Manta-Ray, The Squid, the Deep Sea Monster, all seem to come to life straight from Jules Verne' science adventure books:
Note the girl inside the maw of this monster - every "animal machine" is also a moving vehicle:
Constructed on the site of the former city dockyards, these steel and wood animal machines consist of the innumerable moving parts, hydraulics, gear wheels - all skillfully combined to make up various obscure sea creatures, a huge elephant, birds and prehistoric monsters... here is a mysterious crane nest:

The Squid seems genuinely surprised to end up on display in the 21st century:
Le Grand Elephant

Most impressive creation on display is the 11-meter high "mechanical" elephant, which weighs more than 40 tons:

The Night in the Museum

The genuine look and feel of the creepy museum installation truly comes to life when the dark descends:
Sultan's of India Remarkable Journey

Some of the artists responsible for this display are also creators of the similarly bizarre theatrical show "The Sultan's Elephant", which took place in London in 2005 and then traveled across the country.

First the mysterious time capsule/spaceship arrives:

The Giant Sultan's Elephant appears, spraying the screaming crowds with water:

Also part of the show, the adjacent cars were routinely SEWN together with a giant needle (!):
Mechanical Elephants FTW

There was a series of concepts in Modern Mechanics magazine with the similarly weird "walking" modes of transportation - for fun, and for the military:

in 1933 the horse of steel runs across fields:
Something about giant walking machines... Even the Emperor supplied his Stormtroopers with AT-ATs. Such machines are definitely in our future. It's only a matter of time, till we'll be mounting a mechanical steed to go riding into the sunset to pick up groceries.

Written By Awais Ali


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