'Strandbeests' is Dutch for beach animals because it's the beach that physicist/artist Theo Jansen designed his kinetic sculptures to navigate.
"They have to survive the storms, the water, the sand," Jansen tells ABC7, "There have been many generations of strandbeest. It's an evolution process."
Indeed, Jansen began designing his creatures, which look like strange, scurrying monsters or models of Howl's Moving Castle, in 1990. And, as evolution is always a work in progress, he's still iterating on his designs at his workshop in Ypenburg, a Netherlands town near Delft.
Jansens' works are made from PVC piping and other light hardware materials, propelled by wind to walk, sometimes briskly, on mostly flat surfaces like beaches. But now Strandbeests will roam the Exploratorium as part of Strandbeest: The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen, the first North American tour of the works. The exhibit runs through September 5th.
Jansen's work was the subject of a New Yorker magazine profile in 2011. Speaking of their mysterious, seeming autonomy, “The Strandbeests themselves have let me make them,” Jansen told the magazine.