My wife and I had the rare opportunity to see Theo Jansen’s work up close. I’ve been following the Dutch physicist/artist for 7-8 years now and you can imagine how excited we were to hear that The SF Exploratorium would be hosting some of these curious sculptures. This is the first ever appearance in North America of these kinetic creatures originally designed to turn the sand and maintain dunes in the face of rising sea levels. They are generally kinetic and propelled by the wind but there are also crude air pressure systems he designed to help them move and they have evolved to essentially have ‘lungs’ a ‘brain’ and a ‘nervous system’. They’re entirely made of pvc pipes and zip ties and the air pressure systems are made from plastic bottles. This is also an important part of the project, to utilise recycled material.
The following video is from a TED talk from 2007 with some video examples of the many different varieties of ‘Beests’ and some explanation of the process and ideas behind them. Following that are my pics from the exhibit and a short video of the demonstration we saw as part of the exhibit.
The photo’s included in the exhibit are by Lena Herzog
All pics and video shot by Jeff K. 2016