La Princesse

Craft & Design Robotics
La Princesse


This article first appeared in Make: Volume 41.
This article first appeared in Make: Volume 41.

How can I love something with eight eyes and a bloodless heart? I just don’t think there’s a newspaper large enough to smash this beast. Not that I would, but spiders never made me feel very comfortable. They haunt every crack and corner in your house and live with some salesman’s promise to “rid your home of all other bugs” in exchange for the occasional fear of accidentally climbing into your slumbering bedtime mouth. That’s not entirely factual, and neither is the fear factor from a 50-foot arachnid that is always within your field of view whenever it chooses to terrorize a city.

200,000 attendees (or victims?) of La Princesse witnessed five days of nigh-Lovecraftian horror back in 2008 during Liverpool’s Capital of Culture event and it has remained in my nightmares ever since. I can’t fathom an evening without seeing that mechanical metatarsus, or the sunken forlorn eyes of its diabolical builders, the fire-breathing operators from French production company La Machine.

The crowd was fanatically attracted by the musical pheromones that spewed from the machines’ spinnerets. When all was settled the freak nestled into its cocoon and the gasoline engines, compressors, and fireworks went silent and she was never seen again.
At least I want to believe that. Let me have that moment of rest.

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James Burke

James Burke is a designer for Make: and organizer of the Power Racing Series.

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