Theo Jansen, engineer, artist and creator of PVC creatures, creatures that are a marvel of scale and imagination. On his recent trip Melbourne he demonstrated one of his larger creations, The StrandBeast. The Beast is an incredibly complex and intrecate sculpture, then it starts to move. Sometimes described as Kinetic Sculptures these works of art come to life in the wind, seemingly marching down windy beaches with a mind of their own.
Made of PVC piping and recycled and reclaimed plastics the sculptures are an engineering marvel while being visually stunning. Using only very basic materials Jansen manages to produce mechanical, rotary and cam shaft systems, creating mobile works of art that resemble machines made by those lost on a desert island.
Born in 1948 in the Netherlands Dutch artist Jansen himself dreams of the day that self replicating kinetic machines roam the world. A little creepy but imaginative. He sees his role as more of a parent than artistic creator. To help achieve this goal many of his creatures have simple intelligance built into their design, allowing them to avoid objects and stay out of the water.
There are many sub species of Wind Walkers, Jansen has created kinetic sculptures of all shapes and sizes. Of the multitude You Tube video’s of the wind walkers in action our favourites have to be the StrandBeast and the Rhino. Both capture his unique walking mechanism and artistic vision.
Jansen has been constructing his unique PVC pipe creatures for nearly 20 years now, he has even held talks at the TED conferences, he is always enthusiastic when talking about his favourite subject , kinetic automation, his Ted appearance was no exception.
Stunningly hypnotic Jansen’s creations are a beautiful combination of amazing engineering and extremely fertile imagination, a combination we here at Highpants thinks the world needs more of.