First spotted over at JWZ, and then via Metafilter, which provided some much-needed context. Apparently, it’s a parade by the art group Royal de Luxe in Nantes, France, and was done in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the passing of Jules Verne.
Those are marionettes. The “Petite Geant” actually arrives in an enormous rocket. At one point, she kneels and lets kids swing on her arm. Don’t miss the shots of the 37-foot-tall elephant; apparently, his trunk is also fully articulated and could pick up hay to eat. Amazing. Fuck floats; absurdly articulated and expressive marionettes are where it’s at. Awesome pics and even a few videos here. There’s some behind the scenes stuff, too.
Also, more pix and video at the Nantes.fr site — perhaps someone (Miche?) can provide us with something like a translation of the relevant text.
Also also, because we live in the future, there’s already a flickr tag for “Nantes.”