Created by Dutch artist Theo Jansen, the Strandbeest is created by rudimentary objects such as PVC piping, wood and sails and contains no electrical or motorised parts; it is instead powered by the wind.
The Strandbeest has steadily evolved into more complex working structures. Some even having the ability to store wind power in the absence of a breeze, being able to nail pins into the sand when wind power becomes too great, and even sensing when they have entered the water or encountered an object so they can then avoid the obstruction.
Theo Jansen is ever improving and changing these creatures, and does have a final plan for them saying: “over time, these skeletons have become increasingly better at surviving the elements such as storms and water, and eventually I want to put these animals out in herds on the beaches, so they will live their own lives”.
Tele-Present Water Simulates a Spot in the Pacific from Halfway Around the World
Artist David Bowen is known for his kinetic sculptures that are driven by real-world data from natural phenomenon. For his work “Tele-Present Water,” first exhibited at the National Museum in Wroclaw, Poland, Bowen pulled real-time wave intensity and frequency data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) buoy station 46246 (49°59’7″ N 145°5’20″ W) located in the remote Shumagin Islands of Alaska. This information was scaled and transferred to a mechanical grid structure, resulting in an uncanny live simulation of the movement of water from halfway around the world. The piece, along with Bowen’s other works, speaks to the way technology and telecommunications can both alienate us from and unite us with the natural world. While technology has enabled us to control and model phenomena with unprecedented precision, it may also provide a means to understand the world in a more intimate, visceral way.
Kinetic sculptor Anthony Howe lives and works in a rural area in Eastsound, Washington surrounded by little more than trees, wind, and other natural elements that inspire his incredible kinetic sculptures.
“The Perch Light is a balancing sculptural light made of folded paper and brass. The lamp takes the form of an abstract bird which appears to be delicately balanced on its metal perch. The bird is illuminated through contact with the perch and this lets the bird balance and swing without any cables whilst maintaining luminance. The design was inspired by nature and in particular, the elegance and beauty of a bird sitting on its perch.”
This beautiful handmade lamp is available as both a standing lamp and a wall-mounted fixture. The bird has been carefully counterbalanced so that it rests perfectly upon its perch. It can also swing back and forth in the wind or when touched. Click here to view the Perch Light in motion.
This steampunk themed clock designed by the famous Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli is the largest animated clock in the world. The clock was completed in December 2006 after a design period of over four years.
The enormous copper clock is 12 metres high, 18 metres wide, and has extensive animations timed to music including firing steam cannon, moving figures, and moving legs like Howl’s Moving Castle.
The clock was built by sculptor Shachimaru Kunio who also built the giant Laputa robot on the rooftop of the Ghibli museum. Miyazaki said that he wanted to make something that would be loved by future generations that would last beyond his animated characters.
Sandra Gramm, Optische Konstruktion II, Berlin 2015
“Mobile doesn’t always refer to a cellular device. Mobiles also refer to a type of kinetic sculpture, popularized by the late Alexander Calder. For Optische Konstruktion I/II (optical construct I/II), Sandra constructed her own mobiles and captured stop motion animations. The videos retain the handmade feeling of the sets, creating a colorful and magical scene with objects dancing and twirling in space.” Electric Art Objects
Like a small god, Dutch kinetic sculptor Theo Jansen has spent the last twenty years creating wind-powered machines called “Strandbeests.” Most at home on damp stretches of beach, these stunning constructions amble across their habitat with unnervingly life-like dexterity. They are intricately built from piping, wood, and wing-like sails, and genetic algorithms are used to organise the steps of their many spindly legs. Fascinatingly, their legs are engineered so that smaller tubes are slotted within larger ones, creating “muscles” that can lengthen while walking to help the body balance. Strandbeests have evolved from rudimentary “species” to more sophisticated ones equipped to deal with their three main predators: dry sand, the sea, and storms. Jansen has given them the ability to store air pressure by capturing wind in their wings and pumping it into old lemonade bottles, so if the wind drops, the creatures can still move—perhaps to save their lives by moving clear of a rising tide. They also have primitive brains: binary step counters that tell the creature its location in its simple world of sand and dunes. Some species also have feelers that can detect both water or dry sand, which immediately kicks the strandbeest into preservation mode, making it instinctively stop and walk the opposite way. Some strandbeests can even sense when a storm is coming, and anchor themselves to the ground to survive. Eventually, Jansen hopes that herds of his breathtakingly life-like creatures can roam coastlines independent of human supervision.
Random International Studio has created a subtle but powerful kinetic sculpture called Study for Fifteen Points. From Beautifullife.info:
With spindly legs that look like an upturned spider, this experimental kinetic artwork by Random International relies on the viewer to watch from just the right perspective to reveal a hidden secret. Each of the 15 ‘arms’ is tipped with white LEDs that collectively move to mimic the motions of a walking human figure. Titled Study for Fifteen Points, the piece was created to examine the “minimal amount of information that is actually necessary for the animated form to be recognized as human.”