Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Troy, NY


Wed, Nov 19 '14
Troy, NY, US

Theo Jansen, a world-renowned artist, engineer, and visionary futurist from the Netherlands, will present “Strandbeest Evolution: A New Form of Life” on Wednesday November 19th at 6:00pm at EMPAC.

Renknowned for his kinetic sculptures, Jansen is the creator of Strandbeests – brilliantly engineered walking machines that move on their own in lifelike ways. Part artist, part engineer, Jansen builds these fantastical wind powered animals out of PVC piping, and leaves them free to roam the countryside and beaches around his house in the Netherlands. From a distance, they look like enormous grazing sheep, but up close, the intricacy of the mechanisms that facilitate their movement is breathtaking. Propelled by wind, the Strandbeests even incorporate primitive logic gates that are used to reverse the direction of their movement if the Strandbeest senses danger, such as water or loose sand in which it might become stuck.

Born 1948 in Scheveningen, Netherlands, Jansen studied physics at Delft University of Technology. He has undertaken other PVC pipe projects, building a painting machine, and two UFOs which he flew over Delft, Netherlands and Paris, France respectively. Jansen has written for numerous columns, given a TED talk on his Strandbeests, and been featured in solo exhibitions, including one in which his Strandbeests were let loose in Trafalgar Square in London, England. For more information on Theo Jansen and his work, please visit

This all-Institute lecture is part of the School of Architecture Lecture Series, and is is sponsored by the Vollmer Fries Lecture Series, and the Schools of Architecture, Engineering and Science. Special funding also is provided by the Dave Jepson ’63 Lecture Series fund of the School of Architecture.


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