Experience Strandbeest: The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen at the Exploratorium from May 27 to September 5, 2016. Jansen’s strandbeests—“beach animals” in Dutch—are enormous, self-propelling kinetic creations. Constructed largely of PVC tubing and other hardware store materials, strandbeests are mesmerizing and eerily lifelike in their motions. Equipped with sensory organs and ever-evolving survival strategies, they walk a wandering, wind-blown line between art and engineering, mechanics and biology.
Physicist-turned-artist Jansen has been creating strandbeests since 1990. Iteratively designed and intricately assembled, Jansen’s self-propelled creatures have evolved over the years, becoming increasingly complex and lifelike, with specialized adaptations to help them survive in their seaside environment.
On tour for the first time in North America, the exhibition is illuminated by artist sketches, immersive video, live demonstrations, and the lyrical photography of Lena Herzog, who spent more than seven years documenting the strandbeests’ evolution.