The surreal creatures in the video above are Strandbeests – a family of kinetic sculptures by Dutch artist Theo Jansen. He has been working on perfecting his creations for over 25 years now, hoping soon they can be entirely independent, to be left on the beach. These creatures come close to what TS Eliot imagined in The Lovesong of J Alfred Prufrock, “ragged claws scuttling across the floors of silent seas”.
Made from lightweight PVC pipes, the sculptures use wind energy via a complex motion-system to move. Jansen added propellers and wings to the sculptures to aid mobility. He has given them plastic bottle stomachs that save some of the wind’s power for when there is no wind. The strandbeests also have feelers that help them avoid water, walking the other way on coming in contact with it.
Jansen talks of his creatures as offspring who he can soon leave to be on their own. He says he can die peacefully knowing he will live on the beach forever through his creations.