Hunting the Elusive “Beest”

The dawn was overcast in grey but the humidity and high temps had broken overnight.  It was a pleasant morning as Jeff and I set out for Crane Beach in Ipswich MA early (early for me) to arrive at gate opening, 8 AM. Crane Beach, located near the Crane Estate on Castle Hill is a beautiful setting.  Here is the Crane Estate in the distance from the sandy dune beach.

Crane Beach

Crane Beach

At 8:15, there was a line of cars waiting already, but still plenty of parking to be had.  Those who came later were not so lucky.

We walked over the boardwalk and the salty breeze hit us in the face.  We enjoyed the beach, the sound of the surf and the salty breeze until around 10 AM when the Peabody Essex Museum was supposed to get the Strandbeest out for it’s ‘walk’ about.

“In 2015, the Peabody Essex Museum kicks off the first U.S. tour featuring Theo Jansen’s famed kinetic sculptures. Dynamic and interdisciplinary, Jansen’s Strandbeests (beach animals) blur the lines between art and science, sculpture and performance. The exhibition will celebrate the thrill of the Strandbeests’ unique locomotion as well as the processes that have driven their evolutionary development on the Dutch seacoast. The exhibition will premiere at PEM in Fall 2015, then travel to Chicago and San Francisco.”             Peabody Essex Museum

We were really excited to see the work of a world renowned artist like Theo Jansen right in our own backyard.  As they unloaded, we discovered there were two smaller sculptures.

On the Crane beach Theo Jansen's kinetic sculptures come to life

Strandbeest Unloaded

However, there was little in the way of crowd control so it was a free for all as far as standing room which was really disappointing……..

On the Crane beach Theo Jansen's kinetic sculptures come to life

The large turnout to see the Strandbeest

but Jeff managed to get a few good images

On the Crane Beach Theo Jansen's kinetic sculptures come to life

I, on the other hand, was feeling claustrophobic, as I do in crowds, and was out on the outer edges of the crowds trying to get a few glimpses of the ‘Beest’ on it’s wind induced stroll.

With it’s wings in place, it did appear as if some magical creature had landed on the shores of a mythical beach.

On the Crane beach Theo Jansen's kinetic sculptures come to life

Strandbeest’s wings unfurled

On the Crane beach Tho Jansen's kinetic sculptures come to life

A Pair of Strandbeests

The wind was light making it’s traveling difficult, and the distance of hard-packed sand was minimal which gave the “Beests” little distance to roam.  It’s ‘handlers’ had to assist and continually return it to the water for another journey up the beach.  Even so, it was an inspiration to see the mechanics of the automation presented in such an artistic fashion.

On the Crane beach Theo Jansen's kinetic sculptures come to life

On the Crane beach Theo Jansen’s kinetic sculptures come to life

Here is a short video of the Strandbeest in motion.

The Strandbeest will make other appearances around Boston, and the Peabody Essex Museum will have exhibits of Theo Jansen’s work in September. click here for a calendar of events

Jeff & Lisa Folger
The Four Corners of New England
Salem Massachusetts
View Jeff’s Artwork here

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