‘Strandbeests’, meaning beach animals in Dutch, are the incredibly clever moving sculptures created by renowned artist and engineer, Theo Jansen.
The disconcertingly realistic ‘Strandbeests’ appear to walk, crawl and slug their way across the coastlines of Holland, replicating animal and critter movements in mesmerizing fashion. Jansen’s legendary wind-walking project has occupied almost 30 years of his career, inspiring the likes of NASA to develop ingenious technology nimble enough to withstand missions to Venus. Starting in 1990, the artist experimented with mechanical engineering techniques to craft skeletons out of plastic tubes, developing each animal’s leg system with an impressive scientific formula. Each beast has a stomach which acts as a control center or brain, feeding on kinetic wind energy to gather speed in what can only be described as a bewilderingly animal-like motion. Jansen has shared his hope to release the sculptures out in herds on beaches, to create a “new form of life” as he calls it, that survive on their own. The ability of Jansen to transform materials into sculptures that meld together science, engineering, nature, beauty, and art is a testament to the artist’s extraordinary imagination.
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