Theo Jansen (Scheveningen, 1948) wants to make ‘life’ and he figures the best way to do it is from scratch. As a scientist-turned-artist Theo Jansen is evolving an entirely new line of animals: immense multi-legged walking critters designed to roam the Dutch coastline, feeding on gusts of wind. These strandbeests have their roots in a computer programme that he designed 20 years ago. Their ‘protein’ consists of plastic tubes, at the time chosen because they were cheap , but in fact turned out to be the ideal material to create artificial life.Theo Jansen always had an utopian vision of the procreation of his strandbeests. It would involve feeding tubes to the animals in order to create newstrandbeests. Reality has run up with fantasy, because the strandbeest did procreate, although Jansen did not notice it at first. Youtube is full of descendants, often created by schoolteachers and students, who all name Theo Jansen as the ‘father’of their creation.
The Theo Jansen University presented at AKINCI; procreation has become even more rapid with the introduction of 3d printing. Bo Janzen and Tim Bentley are faithful disciples of Theo Jansen who show the result of the transformation of zeros and ones into matter. Ad Lakerveld is another follower who is investigating the leg mechanism and has found a new combination of lengths of the tubes. Finally, the Japanese designer Shigeru Nagaoka has created a mini-strandbeests-kit, which enables the visitor to play their own role in the evolution of the strandbeests.