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After Dark: Strandbeest

  • Exploratorium Pier 15 San Francisco, CA, 94111 United States (map)
Experience Strandbeest: The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen. On tour for the first time in North America, Dutch artist Theo Jansen’s strandbeests—or “beach animals”—are mesmerizing in their motions and eerily lifelike. Equipped with sensory organs and ever-evolving survival strategies, they walk a wandering, wind-blown line between art and engineering, mechanics and biology.

Tonight, immerse yourself in the evolutionary history of Jansen’s unique, kinetic species. Take in the architectural grandeur of strandbeests at rest, and view artist sketches, video, and the lyrical photography of Lena Herzog, who will discuss her years documenting the project in a special conversation with Marina McDougall, Director of the Exploratorium’s Center for Art and Inquiry.

Explore the mathematics behind the beests’ complex ambulatory systems with Exhibit Developer Paul Stepahin, and experiment with making some mechanical linkages of your own with the help of Explainers and Explorables volunteers.

Strandbeest: The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen is organized by the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA. Audemars Piguet provided generous support as the tour's National Sponsor.

$15 General; $10 Members; Free for Lab Members; $10 Add-On Ticket for the Tactile Dome Available for Purchase Onsite
Adults Only (18+)

Note: Some programs have limited seating and will be made available to visitors on a first-come, first-served basis.

Check back soon for a complete schedule here:

The Lighter Side of Wonder
Photographer Lena Herzog in Conversation with Marina McDougall
8:00 p.m. | Kanbar Forum

“There is nothing conceited about strandbeests, even though they are sophisticated and multilayered. And that combination of sophistication and simplicity extends even to their construction, because if you look at them they seem complex but actually they are built up from repetitions of just a handful of core principles.”
—Lena Herzog, in conversation with Lawrence Weschler

Documentary and fine art photographer Lena Herzog’s lyrical photographs of artist Theo Jansen and his strandbeests have shaped our perception of the artist and his life’s work. Herzog began chronicling the evolution of strandbeests in 2007, and capturing their charming, lifelike motion as they ambled over Dutch coastal landscapes.

The Blind Watchmaker
With Paul Stepahin
7:30 p.m. | Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery

Motions and Mechanisms
6:30–9:30 p.m. | South Gallery, Tinkering Studio

With the Field Trip Explainers
6:30–9:30 p.m. | Roaming

Straw Hands and Grabbers
With Explorables
7:00–10:00 p.m. | Bechtel Central Gallery
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