13 large-scale beasts, each with unique characteristics has landed at ArtScience Museum from 23 June 2018. Wind Walkers: Theo Jansen’s Strandbeests Singapore is the first Southeast Asian exhibition of Jansen’s world-famous moving sculptures. Intricately constructed from everyday objects, these magnificent wind-powered machines bring together art, science and performance.
In the spirit of Leonardo da Vinci, Jansen trained as a physicist, before focusing on art. He has applied his background in both art and science to create dozens of self-propelled Strandbeests that utilise wind power to walk in a startlingly lifelike fashion. They have been exhibited in major galleries and museums around the world and seen by millions of viewers online. Over the years, the Strandbeests have become popular culture sensations, even featured in an episode of The Simpsons.
Originally conceived as a solution to combat rising sea level due to global warming, the Strandbeests (Dutch for ‘beach animals’) were designed by Jansen to roam the beaches, pushing and piling sand on the shore to form dunes to protect the coastline. Through over two decades of experimentation and development, the Strandbeests have evolved in design and function to respond, interact and adapt to changing environmental conditions to ensure their survival. Their capabilities include storing of wind power, navigating the shore through changing tide direction and anchoring themselves ahead of oncoming storms.
“There are few people working today who embody the intersection of art and science as beautifully as Theo Jansen. For nearly 30 years, he has combined his understanding of science, with his artistic skill, to engineer mechanical animals that appear startlingly alive. Wind Walkers invites visitors to get up close and personal with these larger-than-life creatures, by walking with them in the galleries, and experiencing their extraordinary naturalistic movement, first-hand. The show vividly enacts Jansen’s personal philosophy that the walls between art and engineering exist only in our minds,” said Honor Harger, Executive Director of ArtScience Museum.
“It is with great anticipation and excitement that the Strandbeests are making their Southeast Asian debut at ArtScience Museum. I hope that visitors to Wind Walkers will enjoy interacting with the Strandbeests as much as I have creating them. While I have spent the past 28 years developing new version of the Strandbeests, I dream that one day they will be able to roam the beach freely and surviving on their own,” added Jansen.
Presented in four sections, Wind Walkers: Theo Jansen’s Strandbeests begins by charting Jansen’s imaginative vision and the origin of Strandbeests, while unfolding the science behind their unique locomotion, and the creative processes that have driven their evolution. As well as showcasing 13 extraordinary Strandbeests in Singapore for the first time, Wind Walkers features films, prints, artist sketches, and prototypes, an immersive environment that recreates Jansen’s workshop, and interactive educational activities for all-ages that explore the creativity of Jansen’s engineering.
The exhibition concludes with a new installation by Singapore-based artist, Isabelle Desjeux, commissioned by ArtScience Museum for the exhibition. Desjeux’s installation, Backyard Lab, is inspired by Jansen’s creative process, and his use of simple, everyday objects. Like Jansen, Desjeux trained as a scientist before becoming an artist, and uses her understanding of biology to create artworks that feel like scientific experiments. Her artworks question the scientific method and the objectivity of science. Backyard Lab is a quasi-laboratory where visitors can follow the process of creation from sketching to prototyping, through trial, error and experimentation.
Wind Walkers presents different generations of Strandbeests, classified into time periods similar to geologic eras, with each Strandbeest having a Latin name reflective of its characteristics. Notable Strandbeests on show in Wind Walkers include the massive Animaris Siamesis, which weighs over 200kg and has 72 legs. It is the largest Strandbeest Jansen has made.
As its name, Siamesis (Latin for ‘twins’) suggests, it has two bodies anchored onto each other for stability. At the other end of the scale is the small and mobile Animaris Ordis. It moves with the wind generated through its sails and can be pulled along beaches or across gallery floors. Ordis is one the most versatile Strandbeests and functions as the walking unit of several other larger Strandbeests.
Also on show is the intriguing Animaris Burchus Primus, which bears an uncanny resemblance to a caterpillar. Unlike its predecessors, it is not wind-driven, but is instead pulled across the beach, or the gallery floor, by hand.
Visitors will be invited to walk with Strandbeests in the galleries, during special sessions where the creatures will be “reanimated” by assistants. These reanimations will be held at various timeslots throughout each day of the exhibition.
Wind Walkers: Theo Jansen’s Strandbeests will run from 23 June till 30 September 2018. Tickets are available at all Marina Bay Sands box offices and website. Tickets prices as follows:
Terms and Conditions apply. For more information on the exhibition, please visit https://www.marinabaysands.com/museum/theo-jansen.html
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