Beach walking-figures’ creator to lecture at Texas A&M on Nov. 18

Learn more about Theo Jansen’s Strandbeests.

Dutch artist Theo Jansen, creator of Strandbeests, gigantic skeletal wind-powered walking mechanical animal sculptures fashioned from PVC pipe and cloth sails, will deliver two lectures Wednesday, Nov. 18 on the Texas A&M College Station campus.

Initially scheduled as one 5 p.m. lecture in the Hawking Auditorium of the Mitchell Physics Building, when tickets ran out, the Institute for Creative Innovation, the event's organizer, quickly scheduled another lecture for earlier in the day, 12:30 p.m. in the Rudder Auditorium. Tickets are not required for the 12:30 p.m. lecture.

Jansen, who created the earliest versions of Strandbeests 21 years ago, said trial, error and the study of biological evolution have allowed him to endow succeeding generations of his creatures with ever-greater abilities.

“I make skeletons that are able to walk on the wind, so they don’t have to eat,” said Jansen. “Over time, these skeletons have become increasingly better at surviving the elements such as storm and water. Eventually I want to put these animals out in herds on the beaches, so they will live their own lives.”

 

Jansen conceives Strandbeests using computer simulations, choosing designs with the greatest chances of success, then building them with PVC pipe, cable ties, nylon strings and adhesive tape.

“A self-styled god, Jansen is evolving an entirely new line of animals: immense multi-legged walking critters designed to roam the Dutch coastline, feeding on gusts of wind,” wrote Lakshmi Sandhana in Wired magazine.

“They are self-evidently PVC machines, and yet, in their steady animation, they almost seem to evince a soul,” wrote Lawrence Weschler in a 2014 New York Times article.

The Strandbeests have brought Jansen worldwide recognition and coverage in The New Yorker, BBC One, Boston Magazine, dezeen magazine and many other outlets.

As noted, all of the 5 p.m, lecture seats are spoken for and the 12:30 p.m. lecture is open on a first-come, first served basis.

Jansen's appearances at Texas A&M are sponsored by the Institute for Applied Creativity, the College of Architecture, the Department of Visualization and the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

For more information, contact Carol LaFayette, director of the IAC: lurleen@viz.tamu.edu or 979.845.5691.

posted August 31, 2015