La Machine puts on a show in Yokohama Japan

In order to celebrate the 150 year anniversary of port city Yokohama’s re-opening to the world in 1859, organizers invited French performance art group La Machine. La Machine brought two giant robotic spiders to participate in the celebrations. La Machine is known for giant marionettes including elephants and squids. The giant spiders have made past appearances in cities such as Liverpool.

The spiders weigh 38 tonnes each and are 12 meters (40 feet) tall. The robots are steered by humans seated on top of the spiders and are capable of blowing steam and water from their mouths. For their debut the robot spiders walked around Yokohama harbor putting on a show for the excited crowds. The spiders will remain in Japan for 150 days.

Yokohama is south of Tokyo and is Japan’s second largest city. The city played an important role in Japan’s opening up to the world after its self imposed isolation was ended in the 1850’s. La Machine's art director Francois Delaroziere provided commentary on how the robot spiders fit in to the history of the port city. He stated, "The spider is a representation of the foreigner. She arouses phobias," He also added, "Our idea is to provoke emotions among the spectators: the spider is a repulsive animal, but it's also a creature that weaves ties."

Japanese Blog site pink tentacle has photos and a link to a great video of the giant spiders in action.

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