Two of Theo Jansen’s strandbeests (beach animals) have come and gone in one evening in Dewey Square Park on the Greenway, August 28, but they will pop up again briefly at MIT in Cambridge on September 10. Later in September those strandbeests will join in with many larger creations at Peabody Essex Museum in Salem for Strandbeest: The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen, a full exhibit (9/19/15 ̶ 1/3/16) of their kind.
“In 2015, the Peabody Essex Museum kicks off the first U.S. tour featuring Theo Jansen’s famed kinetic sculptures. Dynamic and interdisciplinary, Jansen’s Strandbeests (beach animals) blur the lines between art and science, sculpture and performance. The exhibition will celebrate the thrill of the Strandbeests’ unique locomotion as well as the processes that have driven their evolutionary development on the Dutch seacoast.”
- excerpt from PEM website intro to the exhibit. http://pem.org/sites/strandbeest/about_strandbeest/
I won’t try to explain how or why the Strandbeests came to be, but the PEM website provides excellent overview and resources. The resources offer fascinating information, issues, and images, whether or not you can actually be with the beasts. For character study and context, I would especially recommend the New York Times Magazine article by Lawrence Weschler, “Theo Jansen’s Lumbering Life Forms Arrive in America.”
Meanwhile I feel lucky that I did get to witness the Strandbeests on Crane Beach in Ipswich, as well as in Boston, and I am eager to enter into the larger-scale experience at PEM. Cheers for the multitasking and energy of everyone in yellow shirts!
For a fast-paced short video of the event at Crane Beach, go to the following link.
More images and information at the PEM Facebook site.
UPDATE: Media Lab Video of presentation at MIT on Sept 10, 2015. ML Talks: Strandbeest creator Theo Jansen in conversation with Neri Oxman and Trevor Smith
Pop-up and pack-up on Dewey Square, slide show sequence