Strandbeests are wind-fueled kinetic sculptures designed and built to walk along the beach. In the 1980s, Dutch artist Theo Jansen first imagined that these “skeletons on the beach” could scoop up sand. His idea focused on raising the dunes to protect the Netherlands from rising sea levels, a challenge that the country has a long history with.
Today, the ‘beests continue to lumber and ripple as they cross the sand, feats of engineering made with plastic PVC tubing, PET bottles, zip ties, string, fabric airfoils, and other light yet durable materials.
The kinetic sculpture above is an almost 60-foot long group of strandbeests that Jansen calls Animaris Rex. Sound up to hear the seagulls, the wind in the creatures’ sails, and the plastic tapping of the legs as they walk. Jansen writes:
“Since the beginning of this summer I have been trying to connect several running units (Ordissen) in succession. Animaris Rex is a herd of beach animals whose specimens hold each other as defense against storms. As individuals they would simply blow over, but as a group the chance of surviving a storm would be greater. It is 18 meters long (5 meters longer than the largest Tyrannosaurus Rex found.)”
Watch more strandbeest videos, including:
• Beach Creatures: Theo Jansen and his Strandbeests
• Flying Strandbeests and Theo Jansen’s beach creatures throughout the year
• Theo Jansen’s Strandbeest on the beach in San Francisco
via IEEE Spectrum.