Although new products within a single domain provide excitement and enthusiasm, products that emerge from the crossover of two or more domains create an even more awe-inspiring experience for the product’s audience. This is the case for the current artist, Theo Jansen. He is a Dutch native that has become known throughout the world for his moving sculptures. Jansen has innovatively combined the fields of art and engineering in order to produce truly magnificent beasts that roam the beaches of the Netherlands.
Jansen’s longest and most renowned work is Strandbeest. The work has been a series of creatures created from PVC, wood, and other simple materials that are able to move along the beach through wind power. After multiple installations, Jansen was able to determine environmental factors that endangered or hindered the “life” of his creatures. Thus, he eventually created animals that could sense where they were on the beach with a brain that could detect the location of the water. Additionally, the brain is able to determine when a storm is approaching and triggers the animal to drive a spike in the ground so that it does not get blown away during the storm. With all of these adaptations and more to come, Jansen eventually wants to have herds of his creatures roaming the beaches.
As seen through the series of adaptations, Jansen has a continuous and progressive process to creating his moving sculptures. After one work or sketch, he makes improvements to the point where there is seemingly no end. His creativity allows him to find more ways to improve the previous work. This is seemingly identical to the process Picasso went through for his paintings, specifically Guernica. In the process of making Guernica, Picasso made hundreds of sketches and samples in order to make sure that each piece was perfect in respects to the whole.Finally, neither Jansen nor Picasso would be able to achieve their levels of creativity without being experts in their fields. Without being a master painter, Picasso would not know the foundations of painting and would not have been able to formulate the style of cubism. Likewise, the kinesthetic sculptures of Jansen would have never come into being without his knowledge of engineering. Both creators use their knowledge of their domain and their progressive processes in order to create truly sensational works of art.
In order to see Jansen's creatures in action as well as hear more about them, visit the following link and watch the brief TED Talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/theo_jansen_creates_new_creatures
Gardner, H. (1993). Creating minds: An anatomy of creativity sen through the lives of Freud, Einstein, Picasso, Stravinsky, Eliot, Graham, and Gandhi. New York: Basic Books.
Weisberg, R. W. (1993). Chapter 4: Creative problem solving. Creativity: Beyond the myth of genius. New York: Freeman.