People watch a mechanical installation named "The Spider" emit water vapor during the Long Ma performance in front of the National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest, in Beijing October 17. (Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon) / Reuters
In scenes worthy of a Transformers movie, a huge yellow horse-dragon clashes with a tremendous arachnid in downtown Beijing. The city's first robotics show is creating awe throughout the Chinese capital.
The robot horse-dragon, or Long Ma, is 12 meters high and weighs
45 tons. His rival spider, The Princess, has a 20-meter leg-span
and can froth at the mouth.
The show is half combat and half ballet without a strict
scenario, though it is based on traditional Chinese mythology.
The directors change the scene according to the reaction of the
audience. The spectacle is made possible by a crew of 100 people
- including actors, singers, and an orchestra.
The robots can produce different sounds. They roar and growl
while their eyes glow red and smoke comes out of their
mouths...but what they can’t (yet) do is act on their own; they
still require people to operate them.
The creatures traveled quite a distance before arriving in
Beijing. They were made by La Machine company in France - around
8,000 kilometers away from the site of the show.
“In this mythical universe, the horse-dragon combines equine
speed and vitality with the supreme power of the dragon: he
embodies the spirits of vigor and perseverance that Chinese
schoolchildren are still taught today,” Francois
Delaroziere, art director of the French company La Machine, said.
The beasts will fight over several days. The spider will then
leave the Chinese capital and Long Ma will stay in the Beijing
Culture Free Port.
The event marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between
France and China.