Futuristic Strandbeests make American debut in Ipswich

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2015/08/24/strandbeests-make-american-debut-in-ipswich/

Wild things were happening Saturday morning at the Crane Estate in Ipswich, Massachusetts. The Strandbeests were roaming!

The Beests, as they are sometimes affectionately called, are the brainchild of Theo Jansen. Jansen is by training a scientist, by passion an artist. While studying physics at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, playful ideas began to take shape inside the mind of the man who created this global, environmental phenomenon.

Jansen believes “the walls between art and engineering exist only in our minds.”

Like Walt Disney, Jansen is an imagineer.

Jansen thinks outside the park, imagining then engineering a world where pale yellow PVC tubing, black and white zip ties, white sail cloth and empty lemonade bottles are turned into enormous, futuristic animals. His fusion of science and art seed his creative energies. He dreams of herds of these ever-evolving creatures someday roaming beaches around the world.

Strandbeests are Jansen’s “Dream Machines.” He explains each generation of Beest is part of a super-sized algorithmic project he’s been dreaming up for more than 25 years.

Saturday morning, thousands of people; families with little children, seniors, and teens gathered along Ipswich’s lacy shoreline, bobbed in kayaks, and stood atop sweeping grassy dunes to see an attraction that promised to blur the lines between science, art and story-telling. Disney could not have planned a better venue to showcase the arrival of the Beests premier walk in the United States.

Age limits were no limit to the breath of imagination that stirred as the Beests seemed to take life from variable ocean winds. Little children stopped playing in tidal pools and making sand castles as skeletal creatures with revolving sails ambled along the shore. Adults hushed and stared in wonder at the haunting elegance of the creatures that combine the sciences of biology and engineering with a splash of philosophy by the sea. Somehow, these plastic Beests touch a chord of naturalism.

Coordinated by The Peabody Essex Museum of Salem, under the direction of Trevor Smith, curator of the “Present Tense” collection, the Strandbeests will be encouraging you and your family to wonder and wander with them as they explore Boston before they head west to Chicago and San Francisco.

Visit the Beests in Boston:

Friday, August 28th 11:00 -1:00 at Boston’s City Hall Plaza

Friday, August 28th 4:30 -&:00 at Rose Kennedy Greenway at Dewy Square

Thursday, September 10th 3:00 -7:00 at MIT Media Lab. roaming the plaza from 3-5.