Strandbeests, Dream Machines by Theo Jansen

These primitive creatures, by the Dutch engineer, artist Theo Jansen merges mechanics and biology from plastic PVC piping, zip ties, plastic bottles, with a bit of cord and some O rings.  These Strandbeests or “beach animals” scurried up and down Crissy Field last week. Amidst the beach goers and curiously minded, these wind powered creatures  showcase what the art and ingenuity of a few simple materials can produce with some tinkering and adaptation.  As the beest’s sails were attached, all awaited the transformation from motionless to ___??.  Jansen then initiated his beest to action, energized by the Bay breezes.  At times the large scale kinetic Strandbeest sculpture was slow to start, but once roused took off at a full sprint, with Jansen running behind to keep it from going astray.

See my facebook account for the videos… and the breakdown.
Too much San Francisco Bay wind (imagine that!) caused the beest to run and FALL.  Dr Jansen to the ER for repairs…..

Jansen began tinkering in 1990.  Complete with a primitive brain, cells, muscles, bones and nerve tissue, mother nature’s breezes or the self regulating wind stomachs (plastic bottles) fuel the beests into action down the beach or wherever they are, even within the confine of the museum itself.  Adjustable sails regulate the speed of the beests undulation dependent upon the force from the wind or number of “stomachs”.  Adaptation has evolved through multiple gestation periods: tape, straps, hot heat guns, mild temperature moldings, wood and now to bottled wind stomachs for self propulsion. His latest beest, the Animaris Umerus Segundus, is on display with demonstrations at the Exploratorium.

“My concern is not to make the animals look good.  My concern is survival, period… and of course mutations are part of the process….”.  The exhibit includes several fossil graveyards of extinct animals.

Per the Exploratorium’s Marina McDougall, “many people have experienced Standbeest as a video that has gone viral.  Visitors will now get a chance to see Strandbeest in person, watch them move, see and understand the mechanics behind them, marvel at Jansen’s inventiveness and even contemplate the nature of life itself.”

Strandbeest, the Dream Machine is the first American exhibition, with the Exploratorium the exclusive west coast venue.  The exhibit was organized by the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem MA and features Lena Herzog’s documenting photography.  The Exhibit opens to the public May 27th and runs from the Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, Sept 5th, 2016.

STRANDBEESTS, Theo Jensen at Crissy Filed 2016-05-18 002STRANDBEESTS, Theo Jensen at Crissy Filed 2016-05-18 024STRANDBEESTS, Theo Jensen at Crissy Filed 2016-05-18 026STRANDBEESTS, Theo Jensen at Crissy Filed 2016-05-18 029STRANDBEESTS, Theo Jensen at Crissy Filed 2016-05-18 039STRANDBEESTS, Theo Jensen at Crissy Filed 2016-05-18 102STRANDBEESTS, Theo Jensen at Crissy Filed 2016-05-18 195Be sure to check out Strandbeest at the Exploratorium!

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