The headline is conjuring up images of a dark, spooky castle as a wannabe Dr. Frankenstein leans over a horrific, blood-spattered operating table—but Theo Jansen and his Strandbeests (previously at Boing Boing) are a far cry from the pages of any gothic horror novel. The Dutch artist's spindly, tube-constructed creatures move across the beach through the power of the wind alone, creating the effect of some kind of alien insect silently crossing the sand. It's very cool- and not a little unsettling. According to the artist himself:
In the 80's I was a columnist for De Volkskrant (a Dutch newspaper). The pieces I wrote were a kind of trips in the imagination. In one of those columns I wrote about a kind of skeletons on the beach that moved by the wind. They scooped up sand and my idea was that they would raise the dunes in that way and protect the Netherlands from rising sea level. I was obsessed by this idea and bought electricity tube in a DIY store. After some experiments with it, I had gained so many ideas and inspiration that I promised myself to give one year to this material. This intention totally got out of hand. […] I love my animals but not in the same way as I love people, for that they are too far away from us in evolution.
What do you think of this "new form of life"? Would you run away screaming if you saw one lumbering toward you? There's no shame in it. I probably would too.