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July 05, 2007





Thank you Fatty for once again giving me hope for art! I am loving your posts.
I hesitantly picked up an "Art in America" recently, after over a decade of avoiding it. And, yes, I still hated "The Art World".


Very cool indeed


Very cool. It kept my attention till the end which is a first for youtube.


These are lovely, but I had sort of an observation.

It looks like these might be powered, at least in part, by compressed air. Which is still great, and kinda like the wind.

But most of the films seem to show a lot of clear pneumatic tubing, and my (rather active) imagination catches a glimpse of clear plastic bottles near the tops of the great bamboo beasts. There's almost always a hose or line on the ground near the model, at least to start. Maybe I'm seeing things... my inner skeptic getting the better of me.

Has anyone else noticed this?


can you imagine being at the beach, and suddenly one of these comes walking along?

I would be so confused as to have a "sound of one hand clapping"-zen moment.


Where can I buy these? I want to get my Dad one for his birthday.


Bill--Jansen does use a system of compressed air "collectors"--they're soda bottles, just as you thought. It's my understanding that he's looking forward to a day when they can recharge themselves through the action of the wind. I don't think he always used these compressed air "tanks" early on, it's just part of his progression to a self-powered, almost sentient beach beast.

The films are artfully shot and they don't dwell on things that might break the spell--like the power source. Still, it's not a secret, as such--he talks about the whole thing at his website(s).

Really beautiful stuff...I'm really in awe of the amount of work that must go into just one of these things. My favorite is this "rhinoceros transport" see it, and others, here:


You're right... but my impression is that the bottles capture and store air from the wind. The purpose of these is to store energy so the creature can move in order to survive. The hoses hanging down are feelers so the creatures can avoid water.

For example, hoses at the front and back are constantly sucking air. when they hit water, the resistance in the air flow triggers a reaction that causes the animal to walk in the opposite direction, using the stored energy from above. They do this because water would cause them to 'drown.'

One other amazing aspect of the newer ones is that they have a binary 'brain.' I'm not sure whether they need to be trained or not, but this 'brain' essentially remembers how many steps between the dunes and ocean, so they know how many steps in each direction they can go. I think the most significant aspect of this is the fact that there's no computer or anything more than the organic mechanical components. Amazing.

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