Strandbeest

Well, if you see a creature with long spindly legs, a weave of maze and maniacal at the sight of lose sand and water running along the serene beaches of Holland? That’s a sneak peek into Dutch artist’ Theo Jansen’s kinetic life.

Courtesy of Theo Jensen

Courtesy of Theo Jensen

Committed to creating life forms out of inanimate plastic tubes, for the past 24 years these creatures have evolved, learning, adapting and equating to the basics of animalistic instincts. An artificial intelligence with its brains being the very realm of nature herself.

The Herd Courtesy of Theo Jensen

The Herd
Courtesy of Theo Jensen

The idea is to put, herds of these kinetic sculptures on the beaches of Holland to create an interactive zone additive to the dynamism of the sea shore. It creates a sense of inquisitiveness, harboring the cyclone of thoughts thronging the shores. Over the years these creatures, because of the interwoven intricate individual components, adapted to the changing variables and learnt to be independent entities traversing the sands of time.

This skeletal structure is developed by interlocking strands of light weight PVC pipes that grants the whole sculpture a controlled mechanized mobility, thus it’s “walking”.

Courtesy of Theo Jensen

Courtesy of Theo Jensen

Over the period of time the Strandbeest’s have evolved from the child, learning to walk from his parents to an independent young adult thrown to fend with the forces of nature, naturally evolving and adapting to the ever changing environment.

Courtesy of Theo Jensen

Courtesy of Theo Jensen

The newest evolution of these Strandbeests are independent and consume energy or the “Food Source” as Theo fondly names it, from the wind caught by the wing propellers attached to the back, enabling the movement in the legs. The primal instinct of “Fear” is also incorporated in a convincing way, Plastic bottles attached at specific calculated junctions within the beast to help store this wind energy under high pressure, and upon walking on wet sand or the rolling waves on the beach it stops and uses this residual energy to pump itself away from its nemesis.

Courtesy of Theo Jensen

Courtesy of Theo Jensen

These herds when deployed create a surreal or eerily inanimate yet convincingly live environment along the shores of Holland.

By: Achyuthan Ramaswamy

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