Theo Jansen: Strandbeest

Dutch artist Theo Jansen creates large, almost life-like, beach creatures, or “Strandbeest”, that use kinetic energy to move.

Since 1990 Theo Jansen has been creating what he calls "new forms of life". Fusing principles from art and engineering, Jansen creates Strandbeests – large mechanical beach creatures that use the wind to move. 

The Strandbeests are made using PVC tubing while they harness the power of the wind to move steadily along beaches.

Over time the Beests have evolved. They have become better at enduring the elements and are able to be put out in herds on the beaches.

Jansen is inspired by the miracle of evolution and wants to make miracles himself. He doesn’t consider himself an artist or a scientist, merely a human being playing around.

With these creatures Jansen is interested in creating a new nature, although he says that anatomy is universal, and legs (as opposed to perhaps wheels) are the easier way to move on a beach.

While Jansen hates the wind he can’t do without it: “The wind gives energy,” he says.

Jansen is constantly refining the design of the Strandbeests and adding new features. He is known for having said on a BMW commercial, "The walls between art and engineering exist only in our minds."