This is possibly my favorite photo ever taken of me. What could inspire the mad hampster look on my face, you wonder? Oh, nothing much, just the coolest carousel in the entire world.
Le Manège is the brainchild of La Machine, the very same people behind the giant mechanical spider that has been roaming Liverpool of late. The Boy and I visited Le Manege at Centquatre, a kind of communal art space in the 19th arrondissement, during our trip to Paris.
Le Manège was pretty hard to photograph, as you can tell by the quality of the pictures above, mostly because it’s dark under the tent, the whole thing moves, and the mess and mass of all that iron and fur and wood is a little confusing to the eye when its not right in front of you. But you can kind of tell its a little bit steam-punk, a little bit found object. Each “vehicle” is a different animal (bugs, fish, bison, and an elephant, just to name a few) and they all move in different ways.
The coolest part, which you get a little glimpse of in the last photo, is that each creature is controlled by its occupant by a variety of levers, pedals and wheels that move different parts. For example, The Boy and I chose a “fishpod” (that’s what he called it), a pair of fish connected at the hip with long elephant-like trunks. One lever moved us up and down (probably about 20 feet in the air at its peak), a wheel could be turned to rotate us in a circle, another lever lifted the trunks and the pedals were used to flap fins.
Oh, I was in fine form. As soon as Le Manège loomed into sight I stopped dead in my tracks and pulled a full-on Liz Lemon, “I want to go to there.” The Boy sighed. The kind of sigh he always makes when he knows I’m about to embarrass him. He wasn’t wrong.
You can get a better idea of how the whole thing works, as well as how much suffering and humiliation I’m capable of causing Mr. Buzzkill, by watching the video below: