Section 1: Generation

On 24 February 1990, Jansen noted in his fortnightly column for Dutch national newspaper De Volkskrant that rising sea levels was a very real concern for the Netherlands especially as about one quarter of its country is beneath sea level.  As a solution, he announced that he will construct a new species of creatures that were to be assembled from “yellow PVC tubes, satay skewers and tapes”. These creatures, he envisaged, will roam the beaches, permanently engaged in loosening sand in large quantities and building dune to protect the coastline.

This marked the birth of the first Strandbeests. Jansen went on to spend the next 28 years of his life constructing, deconstructing and modifying these creatures. Presented in Generation are artist sketches and prototypes that outline the origins of Jansen’s vision and the materials that make up the Strandbeests.

Beach Roamers , the original column published in De Volkskrant
This is an original clipping of Jansen’s column in De Volkskrant outlining his plans to build Strandbeests to protect the Dutch coastline from rising sea levels. He envisaged a new species of creatures “assembled from yellow plastic tubing, satay skewers and tape and get their energy from the wind; so they don’t need to eat”, to roam the beaches and permanently engaged in loosening sand to form sand dunes. He promised to spend a year to build the two prototypes he already had in mind and hoped that “In the autumn I shall release them along the coast so that they can profit from the first autumn storms. Perhaps the Dutch coast will look quite different in a year’s time.”
Theo Jansen’s Atelier
A recreation of Jansen’s workshop in Ypenburge, near Delft, Netherlands. Every summer, Jansen spends time at his workshop developing a new species of Strandbeest. One of the key display in the Atelier is Jansen’s Atari computer, which he used to create liner stick creatures which he considered to be the precursor of his Strandbeests. Animaris Linamentum, as it was known, has lived exclusively on the screen of the Atari since it was first programmed.

*All images and videos: © Media Force