La Machine descended on Ottawa this weekend with two robotic/animatronic creations: Kumo the spider, and Long Ma, the dragon-horse. The story is that that Kumo has stolen the wings of Long Ma and Long Ma will fight Kumo to get his wings back. This takes place on the streets of Ottawa as the two robots walk about, fight each other, and eventually ends with Long Ma regaining its’ wings It is a four day affair with the robots starting and stopping in various places in the city during three performances per day.
It started on Thursday with Kumo asleep between the spires of Basilica Notre-Dame and Long Ma asleep in front of Ottawa City Hall. On Friday morning, Long Ma awakened and moved through the city to the street beside the Basilica and Kumo had awakened, moved down the Basilica and across the street to the National Art Gallery. In the afternoon, Long Ma woke again and moved through the streets, sighting Kumo, and then moved in to attack the spider. A battle ensued and then the dragon-horse withdrew with the spider in pursuit for an hour long trip through the Byward Market area, eventually winding up at the Shaw Centre (Kumo) and City Hall (Long Ma). In trail during this excursion were four elevated platforms of musicians playing more “modern” music. So, in fact, you had a traveling roadshow through downtown Ottawa.
At 8 pm, Long Ma again awoke at City Hall and started eastward down Laurier Avenue and turning to cross the Mackenzie Bridge. On the bridge, Long Ma was surprised by Kumo who was waiting on the road below and was raised up to do battle at the bridge level. Once the battle was over, they withdrew to their sleeping quarters for the evening. There are two more days of this so there is lots of time for everyone to go out and see this event.
There are some things to be aware of: street closures and crowd size. On my viewing, it was estimated that the crowd size was between 40 – 50 thousand people, and this was a Friday afternoon/evening. I can only imagine that the crowds will be larger on the weekend. It does mean that once you pick a spot to watch the spectacle it will not be easy to move to another position to view other parts of the show. This is what happened to me at the evening performance as I saw the awakening and movement of Long Ma but was unable to get closer to see the confrontation later on at the bridge site.
For me, the street closures didn’t really bother us other than we had to find an alternate route to the parking arcade but it wasn’t difficult if you know your way around the city and parking was surprisingly available and even getting out of the parkade afterwards turned out to be simple and quick. I would not use my experience as a gauge as these things typically go badly in Ottawa.
It’s on for another two days, the weather could not be more perfect, so I’d recommend you go have a look.
to see all the pictures, CLICK HERE