|Animaris suspendisse, watercolor, gel pen, white gouache|
Dutch artist and engineer Theo Jansen builds large walking sculptures called “Strandbeests.” They self-propel along the coastline of Holland, feeding on the winds and fleeing the tides.
Now through September 5, 2016, six Strandbeests are on display at Exploratorium. Catch them if you can.
The latest and largest Strandbeest, 43-foot-long Suspendisse borrows design features from its forebears: legs, outrigger skis, sweat glands and nose feelers. Sails help Suspendisse gulp the wind, directing air toward pistons that squeeze the air into recycled plastic bottles, or wind stomachs. If the wind dies down, Suspendisse can use this stored energy to retreat from the rising tides.
|Animaris umerus segundus, watercolor, gel pen, white gouache|
Animaris umerus segundus
Nose to the ground, this beest pushes itself forward using energy stored in a row of wind stomachs—plastic bottles along the beest’s shoulder. Despite highly evolved pivoting feet and strong legs, Umerus proved too unstable for life on the beach.
See Strandbeests in motion on Theo Jansen's site: http://www.strandbeest.com/
The New Yorker Magazine's article about Theo Jansen and his “new forms of life:” http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/09/05/the_march_of_the_strandbeests