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Strandbeest: The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen is a special exhibition at the Exploratorium which features enormous kinetic sculptures called strandbeests—“beach animals” in Dutch—that mesmerize with their eerily lifelike motion. These amazing beests walk a wandering, wind-blown line between art and engineering, mechanics and biology.
On tour for the first time in North America, the exhibition will be at the Exploratorium from Friday, May 27, through September 5, 2016.
Strandbeest: The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen is organized by the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA. Audemars Piguet provided generous support as the tour's National Sponsor. This exhibition is supported as part of the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York. ABC7 is the exhibition’s local media sponsor with additional support from SFGATE and the San Francisco Chronicle. Cheer on the competitors in this zany science cook-off, where teachers compete before a live webcast audience for the sought-after title, "Iron Science Teacher." Parodying the cult Japanese TV program, "Iron Chef," the Exploratorium's Iron Science Teacher competition showcases science teachers as they devise classroom activities using a particular ingredient—an everyday item such as a plastic bag, a milk carton, or a nail. Cheer on the competitors in this zany science cook-off, where teachers compete before a live webcast audience for the sought-after title, "Iron Science Teacher." Cheer on the competitors in this zany science cook-off, where teachers compete before a live webcast audience for the sought-after title, "Iron Science Teacher." “There is nothing conceited about strandbeests, even though they are sophisticated and multilayered. And that combination of sophistication and simplicity extends even to their construction, because if you look at them they seem complex but actually they are built up from repetitions of just a handful of core principles.”
—Lena Herzog, in conversation with Lawrence Weschler Bay Area composer and improviser Eric Glick Rieman collaborates with snails, cats, and musicians to embrace a variety of perspectives in his wide-ranging pieces. Glick Rieman is known for his improvisations on the prepared and extended Rhodes electric piano, which he plays with coral, wire brush, bow, and marbles while muting its interior with rubber washers, cloth, and paper. Meditation, repetition, and breath are three of my favorite things.
—Eric Glick Rieman Theo Jansen’s strandbeests are made up of many interesting organs. They have legs that take elegant strides. They have stomachs to store energy, allowing them to walk even when there’s no wind. They can even detect water and count their steps. Explore strandbeest anatomy and what it reveals about living creatures and the process of natural selection. How did Jansen first envision creatures capable of walking on sand? Of surviving waves and storms? Explore the iterative and creative processes behind strandbeest evolution during an intimate conversation with renowned artist Theo Jansen and Marina McDougall, director of the Exploratorium’s Center for Art & Inquiry. Learn how Jansen’s singular vision—and the haphazard lessons of sheer trial and error—has shaped his new forms of life, as well as their emerging independence. Thrown from supernovae, silicon is the eighth most abundant element in the universe and second only to oxygen in the Earth’s crust, which is primarily comprised of silicate compounds, including silica (SiO2), or quartz, commonly found in sand. Silica is absorbed by plants and transformed into intricate glass shells by radiolarians and other microscopic marine creatures. Humans, for their part, have worked silica into glass, ceramics, and devices such as phonograph pickups and crystal oscillators for clocks.