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What’s on at Fed Square – STRANDBEEST

February 1, 2012toFebruary 26, 2012



Theo Jansen’s kinetic ‘artificial life’ sculptures – Strandbeests at Federation Square Melbourne

  • 1-26 February2012

Dutch artist Theo Jansen’s kinetic ‘artificial life’ sculptures – Strandbeests have literally walked the earth, recently visiting Austria, Korea, Taiwan, Japan and the UK.

Fed Square presents the Australian premiere of Strandbeest, when the colossus Animaris Umerus, with its graceful rolling movements, roams Melbourne’s Fed Square plaza for the month of February.
Approximately twelve metres long, four metres high and two metres wide with wing-like sails, the wind-walking Strandbeest, could easily be mistaken for prehistoric mammoth skeleton.
A fusion of art and engineering, Strandbeests are giant, self-propelling examples of nervous systems.  Mostly made of stiff plastic tubes and plastic bottles, they are equipped with their own artificial intelligence so they can change course to avoid obstacles.
Since 1990, Jansen has devoted himself to constructing animals that can walk powered only by the wind. What was at first a rudimentary breed has slowly evolved into increasingly complex creatures with a rotating spine, legs, stomach (plastic bottles for storing wind energy) and lengthening muscles (pistons within the plastic tubing). These machines are able to react to their environment, becoming increasingly better at surviving the elements.
Strandbeest means “beach animals” in Dutch, with the beach being the natural habitat for testing his creations.  Eight Strandbeest ‘fossils’ will be on display in The Atrium, charting the evolution of the Strandbeest from simple structures, to complex forms with a highly developed nervous system.

“Strandbeest is a major highlight of Federation Square’s Creative Program, selected specifically for its appeal to all ages, use of recyclable materials and for the creative conversation it would build between the artist, the audience and the Federation Square site”, said Fed Square CEO, Kate Brennan.
Fed Square’s Creative Program for 2012 offers an exciting mix of commissioned public artworks, installations and performances, multimedia projects and the month-long program in June, The Light in Winter. Federation Square is committed to bringing free public art into the heart of the city and the program has an emphasis on artists and creative projects that respond very specifically to the unique physical and social public environment that is Federation Square.


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