Strandbeests Arrive in San Francisco

Animaris Umerus, Silent beach (2009). Coutesy of Theo Jansen and Exploratorium. Photo by Loek van der Klis
Animaris Umerus, Silent beach (2009). Coutesy of Theo Jansen and Exploratorium. Photo by Loek van der Klis

If you’re reading this blog, there’s a fair chance that you’ve seen mentions of Theo Jansen’s strandbeests before: assemblies of pipes and sails that use complicated linkages to lumber across the ground like some ancient alien animal when the wind blows. They are both delicate and hulking.

But if you’re in North America, all you’ve been able to see are videos, pictures, or small toy reproductions. Until now.

© 2013 Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Walter Silver. Photo Courtesy of Exploratorium.
© 2013 Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Walter Silver. Photo Courtesy of Exploratorium.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day in 2016, San Francisco’s fantastic Exploratorium is going to be the exclusive West Coast host to the first North American exhibit of strandbeests. In addition to the large creatures themselves, including a brand-new one, the hands-on museum will be showcasing photos by Lena Herzog, video, and artist sketches.

Whether you’re a maker inspired by the mechanics, an artist inspired by the marriage of machines and nature, or simply someone who appreciates seeing unique sights, the strandbeest exhibit promises to be a lot of fun.

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