James is looking at Theo Jansen’s Strandbeests and posted this video on his blog:
These poetic moving beach creatures are made of surprisingly simple individual PVC components, carefully and cleverly assembled together to the most beautiful effect, the workings of which follow mathematical and even computational principles to achieve the high level of complexity intended.
In the following lecture at the Building Centre in London last January, Theo Jansen tells us about the making of the beasts, the principles, the testings and trials of the wind and water-powered beasts. Having worked on the elaboration and growth of his strandbeests for years on the beach and in the workshop, he is now observing the birth of the 3d printed Strandbeasts, which have emerged after he’d posted the beasts’ ‘genetic code’ on his website. These are replicas for the mantel piece as he explains.
His real Stranbeests, though, product of an evolution throughout his own lifetime, have an eerie appeal. Although purely mechanical, looking at these beasts as they go about on the beach, one can not but confess to a feeling of amazement doubled with one of puzzlement at the uncanny feeling of life which they conjure.
In his article for the AD on Protoarchitecture: Analogue and Digital Hybrids, he explains how his approach differs to that of the engineer, how chance played its part and how exploration was essential.
Theo Jansen’s website
Another artist, almost neighbour of Theo Jansen, and interesting counterpoint is Panamarenko, whose flying machines, contrarily to Theo’s Beasts, do not actually work, denying them a life they might have had.