TOULOUSE, France — It’s a statue! It’s alive! It’s a 50-foot tall minotaur named Astérion!
That’s what you may have shouted this weekend if you happened to be in the streets of Toulouse when a gigantic art display started wending its way through the streets.
Astérion — who weighs 47 tons — and a massive spider named Ariane are stars of a four-act street play called “The Guardian of the Temple.” According to the New York Times, the play is a reinterpretation of the myth based on those two characters.
But the story is not really the point. The point is, of course, all about the visual spectacle and the feats of engineering needed to create the monsters.
Both creatures’ outsides are carved from wood and their skeletons are metal and their guts are full of computerized controls and several puppeteers who control the beasts. It’s a perfect marriage of engineering and art.
It’s the sort of thing where anyone could describe it all day, but you won’t be able to experience the true magnitude and wonder unless you see the creations in action, which you can do by watching this video filmed by an event spectator.
Both mechanical beasts come from the mind of François Delarozière, the artistic director of the theatre company La Machine, which has produced many more intricate, giant machines.