Saturday, September 22, 2012

Artist creates wind-powered walking creatures, for no apparent reason

Theo Jansen is a kinetic sculptor in the Netherlands who creates his own skeletal walking beasts, and this is one of his contraptions:

Jansen frequently turns his mechanical beasts loose on beaches and other wide, flat areas. One can only imagine the thoughts of the unprepared beach-goer who flips over from their restful tanning only to find one of these behemoths bearing down on them.

Jansen's own site features a video on the front page which is even greater in its grace and beauty. These kinetic sculptures, made from PVC pipe, wood, and recycled plastic bottles, are able to power themselves by wind. Not only can they walk, but some models can even sense when they're staggering into water and steer away, while others anchor themselves down if they detect a storm approaching.

Jansen intends to develop prototypes until he has models robust enough to turn loose on the beaches of the world to live out their own lives. If he does, these engineered organisms could well prove to be a phenomenon for generations to come. Perhaps, even after life on Earth is no longer feasible for other life forms and humans have long abandoned the Earth to its fate, there will still be the Strandbeasts, busily striding about on the sand, the last inheritors of the Earth.