Is it sculpture? Is it art? And why does it seem to be alive… And moving towards me?

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Dutch visual artist Theo Jansen with one of his surreal beach creatures

These “Strandbeests” or “beach creatures,” are made of plastic tubing and lemonade bottles and appear to have a life of its own. When set on a beach, the Strandbeests pick up the wind in their gossamer wings and spring, as if by metamorphosis, into action.

It’s totally surreal, watch it here.

It’s art, it’s installation, it’s sculpture: it’s a new life-form that moves, and even survives, on its own. It seems as if it were blood, not the breeze, running through their delicate forms, they quiver, cavort, and trot against the sun and sea, pausing to change direction if they sense loose sand or water that might destabilise their movement.

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Jansen has been working on these creatures for over two decades

The book, Strandbeests. The Dream Machine of Theo Jansen, coincides with a travelling exhibition, and includes Lena Herzog’s photographic tribute, which captures Jansen’s menagerie in meditative black and white prints, showcasing Jansen’s imaginative vision, as well as the compelling intersection of animate and inanimate in his creatures.

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The photos were shot over a seven year period

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The result is a work of art in its own right and a mesmerizing encounter not only with a very surrealist brand of marvelous, but also with whole new ideas of existence. Buy Strandbeests. The Dream Machine of Theo Jansen (US$59.90) here.