Strandbeests

The credit for this post goes to my son Robert who was the first to show me this amazing video. Since then, I’ve done a little research (what else!) because – well, because that’s what I do. The Dutch artist featured in this video is Theo Jansen,

who creates these amazing creatures which are considered kinetic sculpture. I don’t want to spoil it for you, so watch the video first and then I’ll give you a bit more info. This is actually from a South African BMW commercial – very clever of them to use this.

Jansen has been working on this project since 1990, each generation of “beests” becoming more complex and more self sustaining. He started making his creations with a computer program he designed to analyze the engineering of their walking but now builds them completely by trial and error. Eventually he would like to have a herd living on their own on the beaches of Holland.

In 2007 Jansen gave a talk at TED (Technology Entertainment Design), the “ideas worth spreading” conference held in California every year. You’ve probably heard of it because of the controversial speech Sarah Silverman gave this year. Despite this negative press, there have been some incredible presentations including Theo Jansen’s, which I’ve included because it contains much more information on the genesis and variety of the scultures than the BMW video above.

I think these “beests” are amazing in terms of both their beauty and their engineering. Incredible that they are made basically with just used lemonade bottles and plastic tubing, powered by the wind alone. They are truly poetry in motion.


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