Theo Jansen’s Strandbeests Makes Southeast Asian Debut in Singapore

The Dutch artist’s famous wind-powered sculptures are now being exhibited in the city’s ArtScience Museum.

Photo: ArtScience Museum

Fascinating, terrifying, yet incredible all the same.

We’re talking about Dutch artist Theo Jansen’s world-famous Strandbeests (Dutch for “beach animals”).

These wind-powered sculptures first drew public attention when they made their social media appearance via videos where they roamed white sand beaches in a startingly lifelike fashion.

Soon after, they were exhibited in major galleries and museums around the world; and were even featured in an episode of The Simpsons.

Photo: ArtScience Museum

Now, 13 of these large-scale beasts will be exhibited at Singapore‘s ArtScience Museum’s very own man-made “beach” from now until September 30.

Intricately constructed from everyday objects, these wind-powered machines combine art, science, and performance.

Photo: ArtScience Museum

For the uninitiated, the Strandbeests were originally conceptualized as a solution to combat rising sea level due to global warming. Jansen had created them to wander around the beaches pushing and piling sand on the shore to form dunes to protect the coastline.

His steadfast agenda of helping the environment resulted in two decades of experimentation and development, which saw the Strandbeests evolving in design and function to respond, interact and adapt to changing environmental conditions to ensure their survival.

Apart from being aesthetically majestic, these “beach animals” are capable of storing wind power, navigating the shore through changing tide direction, and anchoring themselves ahead of oncoming storms.

Presented in four sections, Wind Walkers: Theo Jansen’s Strandbeests begins by bringing visitors through a journey of the artist’s imaginative vision through origin stories and scientific explanation.

Photo: ArtScience Museum

Other highlights include 13 Strandbeests, which will be showcased in Singapore for the very first time; films, prints, artist sketches, prototypes, as well as immersive activities for all ages.

Not to be missed is a newly commissioned installation by Singapore-based artist, Isabelle Desjeux. Called Backyard Lab, the installation is inspired by Jansen’s creative process, and his use of simple, everyday objects.

More information here.

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