A Cool Thing You Shouldn’t Miss: ‘Strandbeest’ workshops for Theo Jansen’s upcoming visit

Theo Jansen, Dutch artist and all around badass, is coming to College Hill this month. Merging art and engineering, Jansen is known for building large, kinetic mechanical animals out of PVC—”Strandbeests,” as he calls them. Jansen’s Strandbeests walk down beaches in Holland on their own accord, with spindly legs that are powered by wing-like sails.

Some of his creatures, such as the Animaris Percipiere, are able to capture and store air pressure in plastic bottles to continue to move without wind. Without any electronic components, the Strandbeests can navigate between soft and hard sand, and some can even detect and change directions if they encounter water or can anchor themselves in the ground if they sense a storm is coming.  Using recycled bottles, pumps, and valves, Jansen is able to equip the beasts with a muscular and neural system of sorts. Jansen is coming to Brown and RISD this month to talk about his Strandbeests, delivering a speech Friday, November 21st in the RISD Auditorium at 6:30 p.m. Before his talk, you can create your own version of a Strandbeest.

To welcome him to College Hill, Brown/RISD STEAM, a student group that aims to “unite the Arts with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), is hosting two workshops to hack together some models inspired by his Strandbeests. These creations will be displayed in a “petting zoo” before his talk.

Workshop 1 — Creating the pieces
Saturday, November 8
BDW, Barus and Holley
10 a.m.–1 p.m.

Workshop 2 — Assembling the pieces
Saturday, November 15
RISD ID Building 3rd floor
10 a.m.–1 p.m.

RSVP for these workshops by emailing the Brown/RISD STEAM initiative team at info@steamwith.us.

To find more information about Theo Jansen, to see more of his walking sculptures, and to discover how they work, visit his website and watch his 2007 TED talk.


  1. The contact email address is info@steamwith.us! Thanks for the publicity.

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