The Strandbeests (strand=beach; beest=beast) are wind-powered kinetic sculptures inspired by nature. Moreover, they are inexpensive as their main framework, their skeleton, is made of the typical yellow plastic tubing used in the Netherlands to insulate electric cabling. As with any “life form”, each Strandbeest was assigned with its own “genetic code”, expressed in the piston-like structure (the muscles) of its legs and consequently in its walking pattern. They are all self-propelling, meaning they can move autonomously by harnessing the wind. Without air they might be standing inert for a long time. This drove Jansen to explore a way to store the wind in his seventh generation of artificial creatures, the Animaris Percipiere. In fact, he created a stomach-like compartment, made of recycled plastic soda bottles, into which the air is collected and stored. When a muscle lengthens, it opens a tap from which the air runs out making the skeleton to move. As long as there is air supply in the stomach, muscles keep moving by opening other taps, until the skeleton runs out of air. This enables the Animaris Percipiere to walk for several minutes after the wind calms down. In 2005, this Strandbeest received a Special Price in the Interactive Art category at Ars Electronica Festival. In his future plans Jansen aims to explore new parts of the structure that will mimic functions of a real organism like nerves and a type of a brain that could take simple decisions. For now, one can find online the Mini Strandbeest Kit containing a miniature working model version of a Strandbeest.
1, 2, 5: Castle, El. (2008). (Ed.). AD+ | Protoarchitecture: Analog and Digital Hybrids. London: John Wiley & Sons, 22-27. 3: http://www.strandbeest.com/ 4: http://transform-mag.com/
Castle, El. (2008). (Ed.). AD+ | Protoarchitecture: Analog and Digital Hybrids.
London: John Wiley & Sons. Jansen, Th. (2007). Theo Jansen: The Great Pretender
(Transl. John Kirkpatrick). Rotterdam: 010 Publishers. http://www.strandbeest.com/