La Machine is the incredible art team from Nantes, France who are creating some of the world’s most exciting large scale art and immersive performance experiences. Today, I am happy to announce that we have been in conversation with them, Mayor Schaaf and some potential financial backers about the possibility of La Machine returning to Oakland in 2018-19 with both LONG MA JING SHEN and LES MÉCANIQUES SAVANTES!
Our collective vision is to bring these two enormous creatures all the way from their home in Nantes, France to wander the streets of Oakland. We are proposing a four day show, with the creatures starting on opposite ends of town and meeting downtown. Each day, as they make their way towards one another, they’ll make four designated stops where the creatures will perform alongside a host of local artists and performers, uniting La Machine’s team with Bay Area artists to co-create an unforgettable experience.
Our week started at Bruce Beasley’s sculpture garden where Francois Delaroziere and Fredette Lampre La Machine gave a stunning presentation outlining some of their major projects. It was an exciting introduction for those who weren’t well acquainted with their work and by the end of the night I was delighted to observe how we’d all experienced the movement from being awe-inspired to feeling a thrilling sense of purpose. It was the kick off we were hoping for to begin drumming up excitement for our big plans
Photos by Jillian Northrup
Reveling in Art
Then came Maker Faire who invited Les Machines de l’ile to present and La Machine’s Giant Ant to play and perform. We were placed right next to them with the Golden Mean Snail Car and the Electrobite and enjoyed seeing the creatures get to know each other. They were exceptionally well received and as always we thoroughly enjoyed sharing our art with the kids (old and new) and learning of La Machine’s new project the Herons Tree.
Meeting with the Mayor
We wrapped up our long weekend with a Monday morning meeting at city hall. Mayor Schaaf expressed an encouraging amount of excitement over the prospect of hosting the huge art festival in Oakland and it looks like we’ll have the necessary support of the city. There are a million details to work out but as far as starts go, this is a good one.
One concern we all shared was how to incorporate all of Oakland’s artistic facets. It’s diversity is largely what makes it one of the greatest art hubs in the US and we all agree that this event will require many spotlights.
Another obvious concern is where to get the money for such a grande vision. The city of Oakland doesn’t have the financial resources to ship a 50 foot tall dragon, nor a 50 foot tall spider across the ocean. That’s clearly up to us event planners to figure out.
Our immediate focus moving forward is on securing the funding. We’re looking for a small number of large donors and would love to speak with anyone who’s interested in financially backing this world-class event. Once we succeed in making this event happen Oakland will once again be making world news- this time for being the first US appearance of La Machine’s large creatures and for the amazing local art and entertainment we have in store.
We would love to invite all of you to join us in Ottawa 2017 to see for yourself how incredible this event could be.
Enormous thanks to: Konnie May – Project Coordinator, Bruce Beasley, The Crucible, Adam Nelsen & Mike Pierce from Oakland Spirits Co, Kristina Lazar from Spirit Works, Catherine Boyd of Holy Cheeses and of course the Empire of Dirt Crew!