Strandbeest / Beach beast
Theo Jansen (°1948, Den Haag, Nederland) studied physics from 1967 to 1975 at Delft University of Technology. When he finished his degree, he decided to become an artist.
In 1990 he made his first beach beast. Whereas the first designs were relatively primitive, held together by tape, they gradually grew in ingenuity and skill. Interested in the principle of natural selection, Jansen tried to select designs from his computer much like animals would be selected throughout evolution. The original idea was that the beach beast would walk across the beach and, in the process, carry sand to the landwash, thus giving humanity a sense of safety from the threat of the sea. The Animaris, however, evolved. As the original idea was pushed back, a new goal arose: to create a form of artificial life, an animal that doesn’t require nutrition and can exist independently from mankind.
Janssen hopes that one day his beach beasts can exist peacefully among each other, like a real herd. To this end, he recently fitted them with sensors to detect water and other obstacles.