Theo Jansen

16.09.2021 | 17:20 – 18:00 CET
New life
Theo Jansen, kinetic art creator (offline)


Theo Jansen is a visual artist who builds “Strandbeests”, wind-driven, beach-walking kinetic sculptures that he calls a new form of life. Jansen studied physics at the University of Delft but left in 1974 to pursue what became a lifelong career in art – especially art explored through technology. Among his early projects, he built a machine that could paint and staged a convincing UFO encounter over Delft.

In 1990 Jansen began building Strandbeests, which he ultimately strives to equip with their own “brains”, granting them the ability to sense and respond to their environment and avoid obstacles such as the water. Eventually he wants to put these animals out in herds on the beaches of Holland to live their own lives.

Theo Jansen has been a regular columnist for the Dutch newspaper “Volkskrant” for 22 years and has had articles about his work published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The New Scientist, Wired and Popular Science. His exhibitions in Oita, Japan (2011), Madrid (2015) and at The Peabody Essex Museum (2015) in Salem MA, near Boston drew hundreds of thousands of visitors.  He has also written three books about art and evolution.