You may have seen Dutch artist Theo Jansen’s Strandbeests. For over two decades he’s been making gigantic accumulations of PVC pipe, wood, soft drink bottles and fabric sails that trot across beaches with an unnerving sense of purpose. This is their great beauty, the cognitive chasm they generate. Their movements are so organic-seeming your mind wants to confer some sort of animate status on them, despite knowing full well they are just a series of yellow tubes – an ingeniously designed series of tubes, but a series of tubes nonetheless.
In fact, you can get your hands to channel some of that ingenuity. Jansen’s website sells miniature Strandbeest kits, including the Japanese one with accompanying magazine assembled by Adam Savage of Mythbusters in this video. Or, if making your own little automata isn’t an itch you need to scratch, the New Yorker has a great profile of Jansen here.
Image courtesy Fabio Bruna