Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A kinetic walk on the beach

The name Theo Jansen may not mean a lot to you but he's a huge hero of mine. For years I've been fascinated by automata; delicious moving sculptures with hundreds of moving parts. I'm also a great fan of kinetic sculpture, particularly the huge 'wind toys' of Cesare Manrique that you can find all over the island of Lanzarote. Theo Jansen takes automata and kinetic sculpture and puts them together to create extraordinary walking beasts that could be said to be almost living. Like the simplest organisms, they respond to changes in wind and temeperature. They gather air into plastic bottle 'lungs' and use it to drive their legs. They can even detect the presence of water and will walk out of the sea rather than get wet. I love them. And I hope you;ll love them too.

Animaris Umerus walking - June '09 from Strandbeest on Vimeo.

And here's his excellent TED talk on the subject. Well worth a watch in full screen if you have a spare 10 minutes.

Also, Theo's website is here and has lots of videos of his Beach Monsters.

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