Saturday, 26 June 2010


Animaris siamesis, Exmouth, June 25th 2010.
Music by Spinach for Norman.

This isn't remotely connected with books, but we went to Exmouth yesterday to see the demo of the Dutch artist Theo Jansen's wind-powered kinetic sculpture Animaris siamesis, one in his Strandbeest series of biomorphic machines. Made of recycled materials - cable conduit and plastic bottles - it's driven pneumatically; wind-powered pistons compress the air into the bottles, from which it's released to drive the walking legs. Unfortunately on this occasion it didn't do much walking due to the sand being too soft, but we did see the compression mechanism working very prettily (the action is rather akin to Wellbrook beetling mill or the Excessive Machine from Barbarella) and get to play with a demo assembly showing how the legs work.

Animaris siamesis will be at Exmouth again, below the Pavilions, today and Sunday 27th from 11am-5pm, and in Princesshay Square, Exeter, on July 2 - July 4 (also 11am-5pm).

See Google Videos for better demo movies by Jansen himself of his Strandbeest machines, as well as the official site,

Addendum: 8th February 2010. MetaFilter just featured a YouTube link to a miniature hamster-powered Strandbeest.
- Ray

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