For more than 20 years, Dutch artist Theo Jansen has been building beautifully elaborate beach-walking sculptures that are completely powered by the wind. Each sculpture is made with wing-like sails and an intricate web of PVC pipe bodies and legs that walk with incredibly lifelike movements when they come in contact with the wind.
Jansen calls the beach walkers Strandbeests, Dutch for “Beach Beast”. The creatures have evolved since 1990, with some of his later models able to store air to use in the absence of wind. They are able to survive the elements and effectively wander the beaches in most weather conditions. Jansen’s goal is to be able to put herds of the moving sculptures on the beaches to “live their own lives”, and to create models that will throw sand onto sand dunes to help preserve them.
“Since 1990 I have been occupied creating new forms of life. Not pollen or seeds but plastic yellow tubes are used as the basic material of this new nature. I make skeletons that are able to walk on the wind, so they don’t have to eat.” Theo Jansen, via Strandbeest