Behold, Strandbeest

I seem to have been thinking a lot of serious thoughts lately, and I’m ready for a chance to think about something completely different. Are you in?

Dutch inventor Theo Jansen has been experimenting for decades with wind-powered structures. He talks of them as an evolving life form that he calls strandbeesten. Several are featured in this short video from 2017:

You can find a lot more about this project at Jansen’s website. There you can see videos explaining the mechanics of the creatures, and see how strandbeesten have evolved over time.

As fascinating as they are as examples of art and engineering, strandbeesten are also a clear indicator of a mind who’s been thinking outside the box for long enough that he probably can’t remember where he left it. And that mind is sought after. In 2016 Jansen took part in NASA brainstorming sessions regarding potential missions to Venus. (I don’t suppose that strandbeesten are meant to be part of the missions themselves, but I guess we’ll wait and see!)

The last thing I’ll say on the topic is that I would love the chance to interact with even small-scale versions of these. It would be a great way to spend an afternoon on the beach.

 [Image: Axel Hindemith for Wikimedia Commons]I

2 thoughts on “Behold, Strandbeest

  1. This reminds me of the art with stones that gets washed away with the tide, and the knitting on the bridge. This kind of thing gives me hope for humanity.

  2. I hear you! I’d include in this heartening category the current phenomenon of people adding on to the singing of others, like the asynchronous collaboration that’s reviving interest in sea shanties. Maybe I’ll do a post on that soon.

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