If you are ever in “The Spinnerei” in Leipzig and realize it is late at night on a Tuesday, walk down the central road. Follow the old railroad tracks. When you’ve come to the end, you are in the dark, there is nothing. You are in the right place! Look to the right through the trees and follow the distant light. This nocturne will reveal oddities untold.
But Patience first. It would be un-Leipzigian to handle business without first a drink, or coffee and cake depending on the hour. And this motley outdoor bar will melt you into place. Talk to Peep-Pa, a lovely older woman in a blue mechanic’s jumpsuit, who wields a hand-crank ice grinder for infusing love into your cocktail and a playful passion to educate you on the nuances of her whiskeys and scotches. Enjoy the fireside if the weather is right.
You are sitting next to “Bimbotown,”— what might be the largest animatronic wonderland on Earth, housed inside the ground floor level of a Marxist era cotton mill. I found it when I asked where the bathroom was. I never found the bathroom. I think one-dozen waves of astonishment reversed the metabolic pee-process.
I was beckoned forward by the slow clicking of high heels and a bobbing light, impossibly slow and methodical, belonging to a sexy robot. She walks eternally in a circle. She is a walk, simply one gear held delicately by a metal pelvis, driving her languid rodded legs, welded footwear and lamp-head spine. I will aspire forever to be as sexy as that robot, a perfect scientific reduction of catwalk in time-suspension.
I learned that my new girlfriend robot had a career in the music industry. Her jazzier younger self does a sweet two-step in Herbie Hancock’s 1983 Grammy Performance of Rock It as well as the music video. Robots doing the robot, of course!
These creations are the life-long brain children of artist Jim Whiting, who you will have the pleasure of meeting if you inquire. I also learned that Bimbotown has been closed to the public with few exceptions since 2012 because the permits to ‘turn it on’ became prohibitively expensive. It seems to me a failure of society that such a wealth of human ingenuity cannot be celebrated. Plans are currently in the works to exhibit Bimbotown in London later this year or early in 2016. I will keep you posted!