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Art

Animated by Wind, Theo Jansen’s ‘Strandbeest’ Sculptures Have Evolved into Flying Creatures

April 18, 2022

Grace Ebert

Each spring, a fledgling creature waddles, wriggles, or slithers across a Dutch beach. The sculptural animals are known as Strandbeests and are part of a growing menagerie by artist Theo Jansen (previously), who’s been constructing large-scale, kinetic beings powered entirely by the wind since 1990. Jansen unleashes the skeletal works—which weigh around 180 kilograms and use 2,000 to 3,000 meters of PVC pipe—in the early part of the year and uses the summer months to tweak their function so that they better withstand the sand, water, and other elements. By fall, the creatures have fully developed and scurry across the beach with quick, sometimes undulating motion.

Jansen recently compiled a collection of his works in the video above, which chronicles the Strandbeest evolution during the past few years. The montage encapsulates earlier forms carrying massive sails, caterpillar-like critters, and now, winged creatures that fly feet above the ground and is evidence of the artist’s decades-long dedication to developing the lifelike works.

A survey of Jansen’s Strandbeests runs through July 3 at Kuntsmuseum Den Haag, and Hannibal Books released a catalog to coincide with the exhibition. Explore more of the artist’s practice and elaborately built animal kingdom on his site and YouTube.

 

“Animaris Umerus, Scheveningen” (2009). Photo by Loek van der Klis

“Animaris Percipiere Rectus, IJmuiden” (2005). Photo by Loek van der Klis

“Animaris Mulus, Silent Beach” (The Hague, 2018)

“Animaris Omnia, Silent Beach” (The Hague, 2019)

“Uros Kirn Ader, Noorderstrand Scheveningen” (2021)

 

 

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Design

Discarded Wind Turbine Blades Are Upcycled into Sleek Bike Shelters in Denmark

November 8, 2021

Grace Ebert

Image courtesy of Chris Yelland

It’s estimated that before 2050, we’ll generate 43 million tons of waste worldwide from one of the most promising clean energy producers alone. Wind turbines, while a cheap and carbon-free alternative to fossil fuels, are only 85 percent recyclable or reusable, and their massive fiberglass blades, which are so large that they span the length of a football field, are notoriously difficult to break down and often end up deteriorating in a landfill for 20 to 25 years. Until a high-volume solution for recycling the structures becomes viable, there’s a growing trend in repurposing the pieces for maze-style playgrounds, construction materials like pellets and panels, or pedestrian bridges as proposed by Re-Wind Network, a group devoted to finding new uses for the unused parts.

A long-time proponent of wind energy, the Danish government is receiving attention for its own initiative that tasked turbine manufacturer Siemens Gamesa with upcycling the blade. The company transformed the long, curved component into an open-air shelter at the Port of Aalborg, where it protects bikes from the elements. Although Siemens Gamesa doesn’t have plans to launch a large-scale initiative for installing similar designs, it recently released new fully recyclable blades that can be turned into boats, recreational vehicle bodies, and other projects in the future. (via designboom)

 

Image courtesy of Chris Yelland

Image courtesy of Siemens Gamesa

Image courtesy of Siemens Gamesa

Image courtesy of Siemens Gamesa

 

 



Art

Dizzying Kinetic Sculptures by Anthony Howe Billow and Writhe in the Wind

December 7, 2020

Grace Ebert

Washington-based artist Anthony Howe (previously) has mesmerized viewers for nearly a decade with towering kinetic sculptures that twist and turn with hypnotic motion. Weighing hundreds of pounds, the hefty artworks are activated with even the slightest breeze and resemble otherworldly organisms, four-legged creatures, and mechanisms as they coil in the wind. Howe documents his fabrication process for one of his works in a new video on his YouTube channel, where he shares a growing collection of sleek sculptures.

 

“Mums the Word,” 475 pounds, 206 x 96 x 60 inches

“In Cloud Light IV,” 830 pounds, 234 x 86 x 60 inches

 

 



Design

LEGO Launches a Rotating Wind Turbine with Trees Made From Plant-Based Plastic

September 28, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

LEGO recently launched a new 826-piece set that includes a three-foot tall wind turbine. The fully functioning power source features aircraft warning lights and adjustable blades, and towers above a cottage surrounded by trees and a garden. This is the first LEGO set to use a new plant-based plastic formulated from sugarcane, which comprises the kit’s spruce trees. The turbine, which is a collaboration with the Danish sustainable energy company Vestas, was previously developed in 2008 but was never released to the public. The updated set will be available through LEGO stores and online on November 23, 2018. (via Designboom)

 

 

 



Art

Theo Jansen’s New Strandbeest Roams the Beach Like an Undulating Caterpillar

August 17, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Earlier this summer artist Theo Jansen (previously) revealed UMINAMI, a new addition to his series of wind-powered strandbeests. The kinetic sculpture is much thinner than previous iterations, and is made without hinging joints so it does not need to be lubricated when roving along the sandy shore. The fabricated creature seems to imitate the motion of a crawling caterpillar, producing an undulating movement as it sweeps across the beach. You can watch other strandbeests in motion on Youtube. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 



Art

Plants Respond to Faraway Wind Currents in a Mesmerizing Dance Engineered by David Bowen

June 15, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Guided by the movement of a flower stalk on a breezy day, a field of indoor plants seem to move in a choreographed dance. To create this mesmerizing movement, artist David Bowen installed indoors 126 plant stalks attached to x/y tilting mechanical devices. The indoor devices then jerk and tilt in near perfect synchronicity with an identical plant affixed to an accelerometer, which moves freely outside.

In its most recent iteration, tele-present wind has been installed indoors at Azkuna Zentroa in Bilbao, Spain, and outside at the University of Minnesota’s Visualization and Digital Imaging Lab. As a result, the plants in Spain were responsive to subtle wind current happening over four thousand miles away. The project is on view in Spain until September, 2018. Bowen works with movement and technology in many of his works, including SPACEJUNK, in which fifty twigs point in unison to the direction of the oldest piece of man-made space debris. You can see more from the artist on Instagram and Vimeo. (via Prosthetic Knowledge)