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Theo Jansen's Strandbeests, beach animal species

Streaming Museum was a Creative Partner of Zayed University Dubai in the November 2014 presentation of THEO JANSEN at ISEA Dubai 2014

. Dutch kinetic sculptor THEO JANSEN has been creating Strandbeest (Dutch: strand=beach; beest=beast), wind-walking examples of artificial life, since 1990. What was at first a rudimentary breed has slowly evolved into a generation of machines that are able to react to their environment: “over time, these skeletons have become increasingly better at surviving the elements such as storms and water, and eventually I want to put these animals out in herds on the beaches, so they will live their own lives.”

Constructed as intricate assemblages of piping, wood, and wing-like sails, Jansen’s creations are constantly being improved and have become excellently adapted to their sandy beach environment. The creations sport legs, which “prove to be more efficient on sand than wheels…they don’t need to touch every inch of the ground along the way, as a wheel has to”.

The creations are also able to store air pressure and use it to drive them in the absence of wind: “Self-propelling beach animals like Animaris Percipiere have a stomach. This consists of recycled plastic bottles containing air, that can be pumped up to a high pressure by the wind.” Theo’s more sophisticated creations are able to detect once they have entered water and walk away from it, and one model will even anchor itself to the earth if it senses a storm approaching.


“Since 1990 I have been occupied creating new forms of life. Not pollen or seeds but plastic yellow tubes are used as the basic material of this new nature. I make skeletons that are able to walk on the wind, so they don’t have to eat. Over time, these skeletons have become increasingly better at surviving the elements such as storm and water and eventually I want to put those animals out in herds on the beaches so they will live their own lives.” BIOGRAPHY


Theo Jansen’s Lumbering Life-Forms Arrive in America by LAWRENCE WESCHLER NOV. 26, 2014 New York Times Magazine

On a blustery October afternoon, on a gently raised hill above Ypenburg, the Netherlands, roughly halfway between The Hague and Delft, the 66-year-old once-aspiring physicist Theo Jansen and several assistants busily prepared to launch an odd sort of species invasion. In a few weeks, Jansen’s strandbeests — the huge self-propelled beach-striding contraptions that Jansen has spent the better part of the past quarter-century conceiving, evolving and constructing from out of ever more ambitious concatenations of lightweight yellow PVC tubing and spiny white sails — would be strutting their improbably lifelike stuff up and down Miami Beach at Art Basel, to the drop-jawed amazement of all. But for the moment, Jansen had to carefully, with near-veterinary skill, slice and fold six of the wide-slung beests into two 40-foot-long shipping containers, so that they would survive the rigors of their Atlantic passage.


The Strandbeest “Animaris Umerus” (2009 -) visited Federation Square, Melbourne – a partner of Streaming Museum since 2008. The project was directed by Matt Jones, Fed Square’s creative and forward thinking Program Manager.


Animaris Adulari







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