Theo Jansen’s “Strandbeests”

 
Theo Jansen with his "beach creature"

Theo Jansen with his “beach creature”

Intricate as insects, but with bursts of equine energy, the “Strandbeests” or “beach creatures” are the creation of Dutch visual artist Theo Jansen, who has been working for nearly two decades to develop a new life-form that moves, and even survives, on its own.

Set to roam the beaches of Holland, the Strandbeests pick up the wind in their gossamer wings and spring, as if by metamorphosis, into action. As if it were blood, not the breeze, running through their delicate forms, they quiver, cavort, and trot against the sun and sea, pausing to change direction if they sense loose sand or water that might destabilize their movement.

Jansen studied science at the University of Delft. He spent his early career painting, before deciding to strike out on a new course by making a real flying saucer which flew over Delft in 1980. Since then he has been working on the creation of the Strandbeest species.

—From “Strandbeest: The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen” by Lena Herzog (Photographer), Theo Jansen (Artist), Lawrence Weschler (Contributor)/ Taschen (January 5, 2015)

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