Mechanical dreams, the ticking - The website of automatons, automata and androids.

Francis Lara is a man unique of his kind. He is a dreamer... While talking, he uses unusual words, which common people have forgotten.

Francis Lara in his marvelous museum in Grenoble (France) - The website of automatons, automata and androids.
Francis Lara is also an automaton mime
'In Grenoble, all around the world and within my artistic path, I wish to promote dream, through the various artistic means of expression, by mingling the past and the present, thus creating shapes, colours, musics...' Still more : 'Be careful... You're entering the wonderful "mechanical dreams". Then, you will say: one day, I saw...'
The Museum of automatons in Grenoble is not like any other museum. The visitor might get lost in this "mechanical dream" and be grateful for living such an experience. This gentle, naïve and profound universe is very similar to its creator, Francis Lara.

'Oh! It's not not gigantic but a whispering crowd runs to it : marionettes, automatons, animated figurines, musical boxes...'

'Automatons can't think, neither can the music mechanism; however, they both reflect their creator's thought. This is precisely what makes them exist. Reality turns into dream, and dream turns into reality.'

Francis Lara rouses the visitors and makes their mind travel. As an artist, he is both a mime and an automaton. 'I got to like the way to direct and present the works of art.'

Museum of automatons in Grenoble (France) - The website of automatons, automata and androids.
The museum of automatons
in Grenoble
'The Museum attaches great value to the notions of imagination and dream. The visitors of my museum, the young and the not-so-young, are invited to travel within a land of tales and original stories, which I like to share. The visit is carried out just like when one reads a book: I will successively act the roles of illustrator, writer-director and narrator.'
An antique music box in the museum of automatons in Grenble (France) - The website of automatons, automata and androids.
An antique music box
Lara proceeds to read about the mechanical dreams' still epic, while the visitors are listening to the fabulous musical boxes, admiring their mysterious, and yet familiar mechanism, deciphering the animated
An automaton toy in the museum of automatons in Grenoble - The website of automatons, automata and androids.
An automaton toy
dolls' frail smile and singing along with the whistling bird or the barrel organ. 'The visitor has to enter dreams and to join in the game', Lara explains. As he winds the mechanism up, the doll's smile becomes wider. As he presses the button, the musical box, which dates back to one hundred and seventy years, makes its precious wooden case vibrate. As soon as a key is turned, magic operates.
The mysterious mechanical duck by Frédéric Vidoni for the museum of automatons in Grenoble - The website of automatons, automata and androids.
The mysterious mechanical duck by Frédéric Vidoni for the museum of automatons in Grenoble - The website of automatons, automata and androids.
The mysterious mechanical duck created by Frédéric Vidoni for the Museum of automatons in Grenoble - The website of automatons, automata and androids.
The mysterious mechanical duck created by Frédéric Vidoni for the museum of automatons in Grenoble

And then, right in the middle of the Museum, the imposing wonder stands : a duck originally made up of 4000 pieces. The very duck Vaucauson created, the one which is able to eat and digest.

The creator of automatons, Fred Vidoni, revived Vaucanson's duck thanks to his talent. It took Vidoni hundreds of hours to work from the work of art created by the local artist, Jacques de Vaucanson (1709-1782), who spent his life conceiving and making automatons.

Lara likes children and is aware that, deep inside everyone of us, however old we are, childhood is willing to reappear. So, in his small Museum (settled in 12, rue des Arts in Grenoble), where he works on his own, he invented a real discovery path, which he visits before visitors, telling the story of all the collection's pieces and thus making them living again. The visitor only has to follow him and to let himself softly penetrate another world. Visitors must not be surprised if Lara's hand suddenly freezes with mechanical stiffness, or if his eyes are expressionless. Since he was one of René Lesage and Serge Grosjean's former students, the qualities of mime he had acquired made him go through the mirror, like a "living automaton" in a world of dreams.
Little Tich, an electric automaton - The website of automatons, automata and androids.
The visit of the museum is a journey, in which the soft sound of the musical boxes and the figurines' jerked movements suggest thousands of different realities. Different eras are mingled, previously unconceived realities emerge, deep emotions are aroused. The visitors are overcome by melancholy. At the end of the visit, Lara spreads melancholy with two merry tunes played on the barrel organ. The visitors laugh, sing, dance and, all of a sudden, are back in the street, in the real men's world, stricken by the nostalgic feelings, which were conveyed by this small Museum, where time had suddenly stopped.
Museum of automatons in Grenoble - The website of automatons, automata and androids.
Adress of the museum of automatons in Grenoble - The website of automatons, automata and androids.

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