Theo Jansen Strandbeest.Photo by Loek van der Klis


Desde 1990 he estado ocupado creando nuevas formas de vida.

No es el polen ni las semillas sino los tubos amarillos de plástico los que se utilizan como materia prima de esta nueva naturaleza. Hago esqueletos que son capaces de caminar sobre el viento, así que no tienen que comer.

Estos esqueletos se adaptan cada vez mejor a la supervivencia frente a elementos como las tomentas o el agua. Quiero poner esos animales fuera, en manadas, así vivirán sus propias vidas. 


Legs prove to be more efficient on sand than wheels. Wheels have to work their way through the sand and shift relatively more of it as a result. Try pulling a cart through loose sand and it's hard work. The advantage of wheels, however, is that they don't lurch; their axle is at a constant height, which saves energy. But the legs of the strandbeest have this same advantage; they don't lurch either. The upper and lower leg parts move relative to one another in such a way that the hip joint (at the juncture with the upper leg) remains at a constant height, just as with the axle of a wheel. But they don't have the wheel's disadvantages; they don't need to touch every inch of the ground along the way, as a wheel has to. Legs can leave out patches of ground by stepping over them. Which is why you can better have legs than wheels on sandy ground.

More about the legs: in THE GREAT PRETENDER the book written by Theo Jansen. 256 pages (29 x 21 x 3 cm) richly illustrated.


Self-propelling beach animals like Animaris Percipiere have a stomach . This consists of recycled plastic bottles containing air that can be pumped up to a high pressure by the wind. This is done using a variety of bicycle pump, needless to say of plastic tubing. Several of these little pumps are driven by wings up at the front of the animal that flap in the breeze. It takes a few hours, but then the bottles are full. They contain a supply of potential wind. Take off the cap and the wind will emerge from the bottle at high speed. The trick is to get that untamed wind under control and use it to move the animal. For this, muscles are required. Beach animals have pushing muscles which get longer when told to do so. These consist of a tube containing another that is able to move in and out. There is a rubber ring on the end of the inner tube so that this acts as a piston. When the air runs from the bottles through a small pipe in the tube it pushes the piston outwards and the muscle lengthens. The beach animal's muscle can best be likened to a bone that gets longer. Muscles can open taps to activate other muscles that open other taps, and so on. This creates control centres that can be compared to brains.