In 1990, Dutch artist Theo Jansen began building Strandbeest (Dutch for "beach beast"). Since then, his intricate assemblages of piping, recycled water bottles, and wing-like sails have slowly evolved into a family of complex machines that are able to react to their environment. Jansen will demonstrate his extraordinary creatures in a special sneak preview made possible by the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, which is organizing the first major North American traveling exhibition of Strandbeests, opening in the fall of 2015.
Electronic artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer creates dynamic platforms for public participation through his interactive installations, which reside at the intersection of architecture and performance art. At our Spring Gala, the Exploratorium presents Hemmer's Pulse Spiral, a three-dimensional spiral paraboloid made up of 400 light bulbs. Arranged according to Fermat's equation, the work records and makes visible the heartbeats of participants when they hold a pulse sensor beneath the spiral. Over time, the internal rhythms of hundreds of users are made dazzlingly visceral—a monument in light to our vitality.
A San Francisco native, renowned puppeteer Basil Twist has garnered an international reputation as an audacious designer, director, and performer. The sole American to graduate from the prestigious École Supérieure Nationale des Arts de la Marionnette in Charleville-Mezieres, France, Twist (now based in New York) has made an illustrious career and is arguably the most important artist working in his field today. He creates iconic, visionary puppetry worlds with a remarkable range of style and scope, appearing in venues from intimate nightclubs to large orchestra halls. According to The New Yorker, "no theatre artist in New York is showing more poetic force or technical skill than the puppeteer Basil Twist."