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DESIGNER
TEO JANSEN
DATE
2005
LOCATION
Ijmuiden, The Netherlands
TYPE
cultural
USE
Art installation
Strandbeest: Animaris Percipiere

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.

TRANSFORMABLE DESIGN FEATURES AT A GLANCE
PRINCIPLE
PHENOMENOLOGICAL
folding
ACTUAL
folding
TYPE
PHENOMENOLOGICAL
linear elements
ACTUAL
linear elements
SYSTEM
mechanical
ELEMENTS
Whole structure
Application Framework
Enclosed Space Open Space
Private Space Public Space
Passive Communication Active
Project Scale
Kinetic Elements Scale
Equipment
People
Intensity of Activity
Fluctuation of Intensity
Periodicity of Fluctuation
Design
New Design Intervention
Requires Support Self Supported
Simple Geometry Complex Geometry
Low Tech High Tech
Manual System Intelligent System
Surface Transformation
Volume Transformation
Morphological Variations
Modularity
Portability
Adaptability
Sustainability
Materials
Conventional Sophisticated
Elastic Rigid
Transparent Opaque
Warm Cold
Weight
Maintenance
Insulation
COST (estimation)

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Image source:

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/

Further Reading:

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/
http://www.ted.com/talks/theo_jansen_creates_new_creatures.html