Theo Jansen – The Kinetic Sculptor
I came across Theo Jansen’s work, Strandbeest. Theo is as an engineer, an artist and a physicist. To describe him, let me pick up lines from his own website –
“Theo Jansen (1948) studied physics at the University of Delft (The Netherlands) from 1968-1975. He left University to be – come an artist. He painted for the first seven years. In 1980 he built a flying saucer (15 ft flashing lights, beep sounds) that flew over Delft and set the town in commotion. Then he built a light sensitive spray-gun which paints an object on a surface. Since 1986 Theo Jansen has been writing a column for the Volkskrant (national newspaper). Since 1990 he has been working on a new creation: skeletons made of electric-conduits which walk on windpower. These animals have evolved into several generations over the last twelve years. Eventually he wants to put the anima Is out in herds on the beaches, where they live their own lives.”
Strandbeest are these beach animals which can move on their own. This work takes inspiration from nature as much as it uses the nature to function. These animals use the wind energy for their movement. The wind energy is also stored in their structures to assist the movement when there is no wind.
Theo’s vision is to create strandbeests which can be left free on beaches and which can survive on their own, even after he is gone. You have to see the video below to believe and understand him. It’s one of the most creative piece of work that I have ever come across.
You may also want to check out a few videos on his website. Theo also shares some design details on the website which may interest you. A simple google will return you links to some interesting articles about him and his work.